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THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 




A TYPICAL GORGE IN THE SARHAD. 



5S806 

THE RAIDERS OF 
SARHAD 



BEING THE ACCOUNT OF A CAMPAIGN 
OF ARMS AND BLUFF AGAINST THE 
BRIGANDS OF THE PERSIAN-BALUCHI 
BORDER DURING THE GREAT WAR 



BY 

BRIGADIER-GENERAL R. E. H. DYER, C.B. 




58806 



WITH NUMEROUS PHOTOGRAPHS AND TWO MAPS 



LONDON 

H. F. & G. WITHERBY 

326 HIGH HOLBORN, W.C. 

1921 



D 

5G2 

8 



PREFACE 

WITH the greatest diffidence I have at last made 
up my mind to write the story of my small campaign 
with the Sarhad Raiders in 1916. 

This campaign sinks into utter insignificance when 
compared with the great deeds done in other theatres 
of war by men who said nothing about them. But, 
insignificant as it was, it forms part of the mosaic 
of the Great War, and for this reason may be of some 
general interest. 

I take this opportunity of paying a tribute to all 
the officers who took part in this little campaign. 
Their untiring devotion to duty, and their efforts to 
do their utmost under conditions that were often 
more than trying, accounts for its success. 

I would like, in particular, to mention Major 
Landon of the 35th Scinde Horse, whose great 
knowledge of the people and their country was 
invaluable; Major Sanders of the 36th Sikhs; 
Colonel Claridge of the 28th Light Cavalry; 
Captain Brownlow and Captain Hirst, both of the 
28th Light Cavalry; Major Lang; Captain Moore- 

5 



6 PREFACE 

Lane; Lieutenant Bream of the Hazara Pioneers, 
and Captain English, R.A. 

In addition I would mention how much, not only 
I, but the old country owes to Khan Bahadur, the 
Sarhad-dar, and to Idu, non-commissioned officer 
of the Chagai Levies. 

The photographs are from snapshots taken by 
various officers during the campaign. 

R.E.H.D. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 
ORDERS FOR THE WEST 

PAGB 

I receive my orders German agents and India Their 
routes A deal in chauffeurs Concerning an appetite 
and sausages Nushliki The last of civilisation 
Further information Sand-holes and digging Petrol 
in the desert 15 

CHAPTER II 

THE ROAD TO ROBAT 

Mushki-chah The native contractor An evening ren- 
contre Idu of the Chagai Levies The native idea of 
an airship Idu the invaluable Robat .... 30 



CHAPTER III 

A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 

An " intelligent " officer Matters political Three tribes^ 
and a fourth Their women and inter-tribal laws 
Sarhad conditions A summons to the Chiefs A bid 
for rank Telegraph wires and Sheitan Two first- 
class liars A strategic scheme An ungazetted 
General Lost kit Swallows and flies Forces avail- 
able Communications freed The Kacha levy and a 
shock Mirjawa . . . . . . . -37 

7 



8 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER IV 

BLUFF AND ARMS 

PACK 

Ladis and its fort A force without arms First sight of 

the enemy Shah S.awar and more bluff Battle 

Bluff succeeds Casualties Bad news from the North 

x Idu's proposition Jiand's stragglers Jiand's white 

^\ flag .... 55 



CHAPTER V 

KHWASH AND MORE BLUFF 

Jiand's surrender A political lecture Jiand's oath Bluff J^ 
for Khwash The army moves forward Khwash and 
its fort Mahommed-Hassan comes in Beetles as 
scavengers Halil Khan comes in Rifle prices, a 
comparison Idu's warning News of Izzat Order of 
march Bluff for Bampur The meteor hole 6g 



CHAPTER VI 

A FULL BAG OF PRISONERS 

The march to Kacha The food supply Flowers in the 

Wilderness Galugan Repeated strategy Juma Khan i"' 1 '. 
comes in The bag is full The throne of the dancing 
maidens Landon declines Idu's doubts Suspicions 
aroused Halil Khan closes up Kacha, oaths, and 
thumb-marks The Chiefs depart Bad news . . 87 



CHAPTER VII 

THE RACE FOR KHWASH 

Plans and routes Car versus legs An equestrian inter- 
lude The trap in the gorge More digging Rendez- 
vous Mrs Idu and gastronomy A reinforcement A 
message to Landon Izzat's men Idu's romance A 
" British Bulldog "The car abandoned . . 103 



CONTENTS 9 

CHAPTER VIII 

KHWASH AND THE SECOND SURRENDER 

PAGE 

Doubts dispelled Organisation for defence Idu's 
" Exiat " And its result Jiand arrives Idu's second 
visit The Sarhad-dar arrives Landon at last Jiand' s 
visit of ceremony The Gul-Bibi Shah Sawar's 
treachery We call on the " Rose Lady " A carpet 
and the Sarhad-dar's advice Another Durbar 
Returned loot Temporary peace 122 

CHAPTER IX 

TREACHERY AND ITS SEQUEL 

Further reinforcements Entrenchments and gardens 
Government inquiries Food supplies An offer to 
Jiand Murad and straw Shah Sawar again Sen- 
tence Idu's suggestion Re-enter the Rose Lady 
News of Jiand' s intentions A vital moment A round- 
up The Sarhad-dar 's advice A Bhusa hunt 
Distrustful wives 143 

CHAPTER X 

FAILURE AND FRESH PLANS 

Slave buying A diet discovery Poetic justice Disposi- 
tion of prisoners Incredible news The Sawar's story 
Disposal of forces The march to Kamalabad Jiand 
gains his freedom Retreat to Khwash . . . .165 

CHAPTER XI 

SUCCESS IN MINIATURE 

The night attack The Hazaras arrive Jiand retires We 
march on the Sar-i-drokan valley Cavalry strategy 
" Gushti's " decision and opinion " The Hole of 
Judgment " Attack and retirement A lost and 
regained water-supply The Sarhadis as humorists 
The mud fort Halil Khan's arrival The fight at 
dawn Exit Halil Khan A prophet The Hazaras' 
request 181 



10 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XII 

VICTORY AND PEACE 

News of the herds Towards Dast-Kird Water ! Mutton 
for all Dast-Kird A stampede Back to Khwash 
On the track of the Gamshadzais Twice a prophet 
The Sharhad-dar's roost Before Jalk Rejected terms 
More strategy and a bloodless victory Remain only 
terms and sick leave . 201 



INDEX ......, 221 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 



A TYPICAL GORGE IN THE SARHAD Frontispiece 
IN DIFFICULTIES BETWEEN NASARATABAD AND 

ROBAT Facing 25 

" A GOOD LIAR," LANDON'S ORDERLY AND 

CHIEF SPY 49 

QUESTIONING A SARHAD1 PRISONER . 59 

JIAND'S MEN COMING IN TO PARLEY . . 71 

KHWASH FORT 75 

SURRENDERED RAIDERS, (CENTRE) JIAND, 

(RIGHT) SHAH SAWAR, (LEFT) HALIL KHAN 89 
CAMEL CORPS SAWARS AT THE TERMINATION 

OF AN EXPEDITION 97 

THE DURBAR AT KHWASH . 141 

RAIDER CHIEFS AT THE DURBAR AT KHWASH 141 

RAIDED SLAVES ON THE WAY TO THEIR HOMES 167 

A PERSIAN GIRL CAPTURED BY JUMA KHAN . 167 

CAPTURED RAIDERS ON THE WAY TO KACHA 173 

II 



12 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 



ON THE MARCH TOWARDS GUSHT, AND THE 

MORPEISH HILLS .... Facing 185 

HAZARAS ON A PICKET POST BELOW WHICH 

HALIL KHAN WAS KILLED . . . 197 

WATER J ON THE MARCH TO THE SAR-I- 

DROKAN tf 203 

HAZARA PIONEERS WIDENING A PASSAGE FOR 

LOADED CAMELS f> 215 

CHAHGIRD FORT IN JALK .... 217 



MAPS 



PAGB 

SKETCH MAP OF THE PERSIAN BALUCHI- 
AFGHAN FRONTIERS .... Facing 15 

SKETCH MAP OF THE FIGHT IN THE MORPEISH 

HILLS . . ' . l8l 



THE RAIDERS OF THE 
SARHAD 

CHAPTER I 

ORDERS FOR THE WEST 

I receive my orders German agents and India Their routes 
A deal in chauffeurs Concerning an appetite and sausages 
Nushliki The last of civilisation Further information 
Sand-holes and digging Petrol in the desert. 

TOWARDS the end of February, 1916, General 
Kirkpatrick, Chief of Staff at Delhi, sent for me and 
gave me orders to take charge of the military 
operations in South-East Persia. 

Although Persia, as a country, was neutral during 
the War, there is a certain district in the South-East, 
abutting on to the frontiers of Afghanistan and of 
Baluchistan, and known as the Sarhad, which is ft 
occupied by a number of nomad tribes who claim/ 
absolute independence. At this time these tribes 
were causing considerable embarrassment and 
difficulty to the Indian Government. 

The Germans and their agents, who were past 
masters in the art of propaganda, were still 
endeavouring, as they had done for years before the 

15 



16 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

outbreak of hostilities, to work upon the discontented 
portion of the Indian population in the hope of 
rousing them into open rebellion. They believed 
this to be quite possible, in spite of the magnificent 
way in which India had offered her resources of men 
and money to the British Raj, and hoped thereby to 
handicap us still further in our great struggle in the 
West. 

They were pouring their agents, with their lying 
propaganda, into India via Persia and Afghanistan. 
Afghanistan, like Persia, was nominally neutral, but 
she was breaking her neutrality by many open acts 
of aggression, and was offering every facility in her 
power to the German agents in their passage through 
her territories, and thence into the Punjab. 

To reach Afghanistan, however, the German 
agents had to pass through some part of Persia. 
The Persian Government placed no restrictions on 
the movements of either British or Germans, of 
which fact the latter took full advantage. 

A glance at the map will show that apparently the 
easiest route for them to take across Persia was in 
the North, in the Russian sphere of influence, and 
to approach Afghanistan through Korasan ; or, 
failing this, by a route rather farther South, across 
the Lut Desert, in the direction of Birjand. As a 
matter of fact they had tried both these routes, but 
without much success, owing to the inhospitable 
nature of the country through which they had to 
pass and also to the opposition they met with from 



ORDERS FOR THE WEST 17 

the Hazara tribes round Herat, who, belonging as 
they do to the Shiah section of the Mahommedan 
religion, are at daggers drawn with the Afghans, 
who belong to the Sunni section. 

Therefore the Germans had to try yet another 
road, and succeeded farther South where they had 
failed in the North. By taking the longer route 
through Kerman and Narmashir in the South and 
South-East of Persia, they found easy ingress into 
Afghanistan. 

To effect this, however, they had to make friends 
with the nomad and war-like tribes of the Sarhad. 
These tribes were traditionally friendly to the British, 
but the Germans had bribed them heavily and had 
moreover assured them that Germany had turned 
Islam and that the Kaiser William himself was a 
convert to their religion. As the Sarhad tribes were 
always out for a good thing for themselves, and as 
they believed the lie about the German conversion, 
they had allowed themselves to be tricked into help- 
ing the Germans. This they were doing not only 
by permitting them to pass through their territory, 
but also by harassing the lines of communication 
between the inadequately small British frontier posts. 

The story of Germany having turned Mahom- 
medan, farcical as it was, was nevertheless a potential 
source of grave danger for us in India. It must be 
remembered that Germany's ally, Turkey, was 
Mahommedan, and that in helping us against 

Germany, the Mahommedans of India were already 

B 



18 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

being called upon, indirectly, to fight against their 
own co-religionists. When, in addition, India was 
assured that powerful Germany was winning, so her 
agents avowed, in every theatre of war, it was 
inevitable that in time her loyalty to us must suffer. 

It was vital to stop this lying but insidious 
propaganda, and the first step was to prevent German 
agents from entering India at all. To do this the 
nomad tribes of the Sarhad must be brought back 
into line with their old policy of friendship with 
Britain. Hence my orders from General Kirkpatrick. 

He instructed me to proceed without a moment's 
unnecessary delay to Quetta, where I was to receive 
more detailed instructions. 

On leaving him I hurried, with car and native 
chauffeur, to the railway station, and asked for a 
truck on which to place the car for entrainment to 
Nushki. The station-master assured me I was 
asking for an impossibility. A great Maharajah, 
then travelling, had commandeered every available 
truck for his suite, luggage and cars. I told him 
that the Government business on which I had been 
sent was all important, and, by a little persuasion, 
soon had myself on the way to Pindi and the car on 
the way to Nushki. 

Arrived at Pindi I found I had exactly one hour 
left in which to catch the train for Quetta. There 
was no time to pack, sort out kit, or decide what 
should, or should not, be taken on a campaign which 
might last only a few weeks or many months, and 



ORDERS FOR THE WEST 19 

which might assume a political aspect sooner than 
expected. My servant, Allah-dad, was therefore 
directed to take everything for sorting out when time 
could be spared, and I rushed off to try and " do 
a deal " with General Sir Gerald Kitson, before 
starting. 

I realised that a motor-car might play an important 
part in this prospective campaign, as it would be 
necessary to travel for long distances in a land of no 
railways and no regular roads, the best road to be 
hoped for probably being a sandy track used by 
camel caravans. I had already had some experience 
of difficult motoring with an inefficient chauffeur, so 
naturally wanted to secure the best man that could 
be got. 

I must here explain that I possessed an English 
chauffeur, Allan by name, and that General Kitson 
employed his brother in the same capacity. Now, 
without any disparagement of my Allan, I knew his 
brother to be a more practical and experienced man. 
General Kitson generously gave his consent to an 
exchange of chauffeurs. 

I may as well say, at once, that it was a lucky day 
for me that saw Allan of the 9th Middlesex Regiment 
enter my service, for, during the months to come, he 
was as cheery and full of resource as he was ready 
for any event, however untoward. His appetite 
stood forth as the only thing that ever caused me 
uneasiness, and I must admit that I have never met 
a man with one of such colossal proportion. As an 



20 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

instance on one occasion, when camped out in the 
desert, between Nushki and Robat, and supplies 
were none too plentiful, we cooked twelve sausages 
for breakfast. 

I had one, and then was persuaded by Allan to 
attempt a second. I only succeeded in disposing of 
half of it. I then got up and left Allan to have his 
own breakfast. Allah-dad, being a Mahommedan, 
of course refused to touch sausage. 

At lunch-time Allah-dad asked what I would 
have to eat, and got the answer, " Oh, some of the 
cold sausages left from breakfast." 

Allah-dad replied, " But there are no sausages, 
Sahib. Allan has eaten them all." 

I expostulated, maintaining that it was impossible. 
No normal man could have eaten ten and a half 
large sausages. But Allah-dad was not to be shaken. 
It may be well imagined that the feeding of my 
chauffeur during the months to come loomed up as 
one of my minor anxieties. 

From Pindi I went to Quetta by train, my car, 
with the native chauffeur having gone direct to the 
then rail-head at Nushki, in the North of Indo- 
Baluchistan. 

At Quetta I laid in a store of petrol, spare tyres, a 
few personal necessities, reported to General Grover 
for orders and information, and then proceeded to 
Nushki; which place was reached, and the car 
picked up, on, if I remember rightly, the 25th of 
February. 



ORDERS FOR THE WEST 21 

This day in Nushki was to prove the last in a 
civilised town for many months to come. The look 
of the country lying before us so intimidated my 
native chauffeur that he came to me, a short time 
before we were due to start, with a countenance torn 
with grief and, with lamentations and protestations of 
sorrow, told me that both his father and mother were 
ill, and that it was vital for him to return and succour 
them. As I had been in two minds as to the 
advisability of taking the rascal with me, this sign of 
the white feather at the very outset at once decided 
the point, and I gave him to understand that he 
could go and bury as many of his relations as he 
pleased. With a countenance swiftly transformed 
to cheerfulness he left me. 

Just before starting a wire was handed in from a 
high political official at Quetta informing me that 
the Baluch Raiders had already cut our lines of 
communication, were right across my path, and he 
advised, if not ordered, me not to proceed. 

However, as explicit military instructions were to 
endeavour to reach Robat (near the Koh-i-Maliksia), 
a hill at which the Baluch, Afghan and Persian 
frontiers meet, as well as that of the district known 
as the Sarhad, with the least possible delay, and as I 
knew the Raiders were across my path even before I 
left Quetta, I saw no reason for altering previously 
made plans or for delaying my departure. 

Accordingly I started on the journey to Robat 
early on the morning of the 27th. I reckoned it 



22 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

would take at least five days to reach that town, as 
the route it would be necessary to follow would be 
fully three hundred and seventy-five miles. I 
already knew that it would be essential to make 
many long detours round freshly formed sand 
dunes and other obstacles, for it must be remembered 
that there was no proper road but only a rough 
camel-track continually blown over and obliterated 
by sand, along which supplies were taken from India 
to Robat, and the small garrison posts which we had 
established at various points Northward. 

The mention of small garrison posts may lead the 
reader to suppose that this area of wild activity was 
fairly well policed, but, as a fact, one battalion of 
Indian infantry, a regiment of Indian cavalry and, I 
believe, four mountain guns, constituted the entire 
force of regulars holding a front of close upon three 
hundred miles. It was small wonder, then, that the 
Sarhad tribes, commonly known as Raiders, from 
their raiding proclivities, who knew every inch of 
the country, could climb like cats, and could do long 
marches on short rations, had succeeded in cutting 
our lines of communication, and in carrying off our 
supplies. 

I could, therefore, look for no further help for the 
time in the matter of supplies and so took with me 
all that I thought would be necessary for our three 
hundred and seventy-five mile trek across the sandy 
wastes lying between Nushki and Robat. 

Petrol was, at the moment, the most important of 



ORDERS FOR THE WEST 28 

our needs ; we had, therefore, to carry with us all we 
should require, making allowance at the same time 
for mishaps. Moreover, we had to take enough 
food and water to last Allan, Allah-dad and myself 
for five or six days. 

As regards personal luggage we travelled 
absolutely light, leaving all kit to follow at a slower 
pace on camels, together with my horse, Galahad. I 
had some compunction in leaving the latter behind, 
but my orders were concise and urgent to reach 
Robat, endeavour to get into touch with all our 
scattered posts, and effect a combination against the 
Raiders at the earliest possible moment. 

A start was made very early in the morning, 
but the first day's journey proved disappointing. 
Instead of doing the ninety miles planned, we only 
accomplished thirty. The track was even worse 
than I had expected, for we constantly ran into sand- 
hills, and had to dig the car out. I have never done 
so much digging in my life as I did on that journey 
to Robat. Sand-hills were, however, only a portion 
of our afflictions, for, in addition, there were many 
water pools and small shallow lakes due to recent 
rain which had to be taken at a rush, or somehow 
circumvented. 

So serious, at last, did our rate of progress become 
that, as we approached what seemed to be the 
hundredth of these wide, shallow pools, I lost 
patience and ordered Allan to drive straight through. 

He attempted to carry out the order, but about 



24 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

half-way we sank up to the axle and stuck. No 
power on earth would induce . the car to budge 
another inch, and, though we all three got out into 
the water, and lugged, pushed and dragged at the 
wretched car, no impression could be made upon 
her. 

So we remained till, at last, about two a.m., I 
caught sight of a light on a small hill not very far 
away in the west, and, on going over to it, found a 
sort of recluse, or holy man, quietly cooking his 
food. After the usual courtesies I asked him to 
come and help me to pull my car out. He replied 
that he was an old man and could not do much by 
himself, but that a caravan of nomads, who had 
arrived the evening before, were encamped close by. 
So off I went again, flushed my " quarry," and, with 
the help of large bribes, persuaded all the able- 
bodied men to come back to the car. Fortunately 
we carried a good strong rope as part of our kit, so 
soon had the car out and running again. 

Allan was never again ordered to drive through 
water on that route. 

On the second day our troubles recommenced, 
for we had barely done a dozen miles than we stuck 
in another sand-hill, and the laborious digging-out 
process had to be done all over again. Fortunately, 
the party who had got the car out of the lake the 
night before were close behind, and for an obvious 
reason. They had been given so many rupees for 
their timely help that, knowing the difficulties lying 



ORDERS FOR THE WEST 25 

ahead, they had followed in the hope of further 
largesse. They got it. 

Once safely out again I made a tour of inspection 
round the car, but only to find more trouble. 

" Hullo, what on earth is this, Allan? She's 
leaking! " 

Allan smiled a superior smile. " I don't think so, 
sir. My cars don't leak." 

But a moment later his superiority turned to 
consternation, and he was burying his head in the 
bowels of the car. 

After a moment's inspection he showed a face of 
such utter dismay that it would have been comical 
had not the situation been so serious. 

" Great Scott, sir! I must have left the 
petrol tap turned on, and the tank is nearly 
empty." 

Here, I'm afraid, my language was violent, and 
it was some minutes before Allan was able to 
ascertain exactly how much petrol we had left. His 
calculations established the fact that we had lost 
some fourteen gallons. This meant that we should 
have to walk the greater part of the last two hundred 
miles of our journey. A pleasant prospect in that 
forbidding country. But orders were to go on, and 
go on we did. 

That day we made good time, and before evening 
had done the ninety miles set as a day's march. 
But, as we had lost so much ground the previous 
day, I determined to go on as long as Allan could 



26 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

stick at the driving wheel, and we went on to a post 
called Yadgar. 

I should explain that in this barren, townless, 
roadless district there are occasional small rest- 
houses, very modest types of Dak bungalows, 
established by the Indian Government for the benefit 
of travellers, or soldiers on their way to frontier duty. 
They are quite bare except for a camp bed or two, a 
tub, a table, a few chairs and a wash-hand basin, 
with a chokidar, or keeper, in charge. 

Such a rest-house we found at Yadgar, and being 
not only very tired and dusty, but filthily dirty, as 
the result of our struggles with the car, we pulled up 
to try and get a superficial wash. 

I jumped out and tried the door. It was locked, 
and I banged loudly without getting any answer. 
It would not do to lose an unnecessary minute, for 
the many miles we should have to walk later on 
loomed unpleasantly ahead, but I knew there were 
pretty certain to be water and washing-basin behind 
that door, and did not intend to leave them unused 
if I could help it, chokidar or no chokidar. So, 
I took a butting run with my shoulder, the door gave, 
and I set out in search of the water tub. 

An open door on my right showed me a small 
room, absolutely empty, except for a row of tins 
against the wall. Knowing that petrol was carried 
in such tin drums I went and examined them. The 
next moment Allan heard a shout that brought him 
hastily inside, wondering whether I had gone mad, 



ORDERS FOR THE WEST 27 

had been bitten by a wild beast, or was being 
murdered. 

" Look! " I cried, as he came running up to me. 
" Look at those tins and tell me what's inside ! " 

Allan seized hold of one of the drums, read what 
was written on it, gave it a shake, and we could both 
hear the blessed sound of lapping inside. 

" It's petrol, sir," he whispered in an awed voice. 

Petrol in the desert petrol where one would as 
soon have expected to find a Bond Street jeweller! 

At first we could neither of us believe it. Person- 
ally I imagined we had both got temporary jim-jams, 
but Allan, with his usual stolid, common sense, 
opened one of the drums, tested the contents, and 
pronounced it to be first-class petrol. There were 
seven drums, each containing four gallons. 

' This means we'll motor, not walk into Robat after 
all, sir," said Allan, with a grin and sigh of relief. 
The thought of those miles of desert nearly two 
hundred of them which confronted us after the 
mishap had been haunting us both like a nightmare. 

At this moment the chokidar returned, in great 
trepidation, fearing a dressing-down for being absent 
from duty. But I was far too elated at the turn of 
events to want to swear at anyone. 

I asked him where the petrol had come from, and 
whose it was. He shook his head, and said he had 
no idea. It had always been there. It belonged to 
no one, and no one had put it there, so far as he knew. 
He had never seen a car there before ; in fact, he had 



28 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

never seen a car anywhere before, and could not 
understand how it was that men could travel on a 
thing which was not alive, which was not like any 
horse or camel he had ever seen. 

This was all very good hearing, so I proceeded to 
tell him that the petrol belonged to me, and, as he 
quite cheerfully acquiesced, I gave him a receipt 
which he could show to any Government officialin 
case of needed absolution in the future. As we now 
had means to finish our journey by car, I decided to 
spend the night at the rest-house. 

After a simple camp meal Allan, worn out with the 
strenuous work of the past two days and night, was 
quickly snoring in the deep sleep of exhaustion, so 
I went for a stroll. 

As I paced up and down I tried to draw up some 
preliminary plan for the coming campaign. But such 
occupation was somewhat futile, as, until I could 
reach Robat, I had no knowledge at all as to the 
strength and composition of the force that would be 
at my disposal. But upon one thing I made up my 
mind even at that early stage I would do my 
utmost to show these Raiders, who were doing us so 
much harm, that they could not do this with impunity. 
The lesson once driven home, an endeavour should 
be made to become friendly with them, to win them 
back to our side, and, so to speak, appoint them as 
.doorkeepers of the Baluchistan frontier; but door- 
keepers with their rifles pointed at our enemies 
instead of at ourselves. 



ORDERS FOR THE WEST 29 

In the midst of these meditations I found myself 
stumbling with fatigue, so, with a last look at the 
beauty of the night, I turned indoors, and in a few 
minutes was sound asleep, and making up for the 
" whiteness " of the night before. 




CHAPTER II 

THE ROAD TO ROBAT 

Mushki-chah The native contractor An evening rencontre 
Idu of the Chagai Levies The native idea of an airship Idu 
the invaluable Robat. 

ON the third day we made good progress, fate being 
kind in helping us to avoid the sandy pitfalls which 
had hitherto been our undoing, and, by nightfall, we 
found ourselves approaching the post of Mushki- 
chah. 

Here we found the road blocked with a number of 
camel caravans carrying Government food supplies 
for our scattered posts along the frontier. These 
posts were already in difficulties owing to the Raiders 5 
interference with their commissariat. 

As can be imagined there was a great deal of noise, 
the native drivers gesticulating and talking in a way 
which proved that something was afoot. I got out 
of the car and asked who was in charge of the 
caravan. A huge native contractor was pointed out 
to me, and, summoning him to my side I asked him 
what all the hubbub was about. 

He was in a state of great agitation and told me 
that he had received information from several reliable 
sources that the whole of the countryside ahead of 

30 



THE ROAD TO ROBAT 81 

them was in the hands of the Raiders, and that, 
therefore, it was useless to go a step further. 

I expostulated with the man, pointing out that, by 
the terms of his contract, he must go on, and that if 
he did not the soldiers for whom he was bringing 
supplies would die of starvation. 

But he was dogged. He knew too well the 
methods of the Raiders with the men they captured. 

" It's no use, Sahib," he said, respectfully but 
firmly. " My men will not go on as they are unarmed, 
and a single armed Raider is enough to hold up the 
whole caravan." 

I knew the man was right, but persisted in my 
efforts to persuade him to chance it, pointing out that 
he might be lucky enough to elude the Raiders and 
to win through. 

" If the Government will give me a military escort 
I will go, but not without," was his final word. 

I had no authority to compel him to go on, so gave 
up the struggle. But I realised more than ever 
how imperative it was to endeavour to reach Robat 
without a moment's unnecessary delay, and start 
conclusions with the Raiders, whose menace was 
growing more dangerous every day. 

We were, therefore, on the road very early next 
morning, for I hoped to make Saindak that night. I 
had intended to go by Borgar, but now that I knew 
for I had verified the contractor's statements, and 
believed them to be correct that that place was in 
the hands of the Raiders, I elected to go by an 



82 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

alternative route, known as the Webb-Ware route, 
which is practically out of use nowadays, hoping, 
thereby, to avoid the enemy. 

It was still dark when we set off on the most 
strenuous part of our journey;" climbing, making 
detours, digging the car out again and again till we 
were all three worn out in body and temper. We 
hardly halted that day, for the necessity for speed 
was as fully realised by Allan as by myself. 

When night fell we had not yet sighted Saindak, 
but I knew we could not be very far off, and cursed 
the coming of the night which made it impossible to 
see where we were. I knew we had got off the camel 
track somehow, for the ground was even more 
bumpy than it had been, and was frequently inter- 
sected by nullahs or rocky ravines, which made the 
going positively dangerous. If the car were knocked 
right out of action our difficulties would reach the 
last stage of disaster. 

At last, in despair, Allan stopped, saying it was 
useless going on any further. We might overturn 
the car at any moment and smash it as well as 
ourselves. He submitted that the only sane thing 
would be to camp just where we were and wait for 
daylight, when we might regain the camel track. 

I knew he was right, but said I would make one 
final effort on foot to find the track, and directed him 
to give me the hurricane lamp we carried on the car. 

Stumbling and slipping over the broken ground 
in the pitch darkness, the lamp barely lighting up 



THE ROAD TO ROBAT 33 

my immediate path, I had wandered some distance 
from the car when I heard voices. Instantly I 
thought of the Raiders who were over-running the 
district. It would be too galling, too humiliating to 
be captured by them before the campaign, on which 
I was building such high hopes, had even begun. 

Noiselessly I put out the lamp and listened in the 
dense darkness. There was absolute silence for 
some minutes, and I stood stock still. Then voices 
sounded again, and I conjectured that there were not 
more than two, or at the most three, speakers. 

I thought rapidly, and finally decided that there 
would not be many men in front of me. Had there 
been anything approaching an encampment of the 
Raiders in the neighbourhood, there would have 
been lights, camp fires and considerable noise. The 
voices I had heard probably belonged to men who 
had seen the lights of the car, and had come to find 
out what it was. 

I turned swiftly and made my way back to the car, 
where I had foolishly left my revolver. Recovering 
my weapon I warned Allan in a whisper of the voices 
I had heard, and told him to be ready to stand by. 
Then I made my way back in the darkness, and when 
I had regained the spot, called out loudly, in 
Hindustani, " Who's there? " 

Instantly a voice answered, " I am Idu of the 
Chagai Levies, friendly to the British Government." 

I then called out who I was, and, immediately, 
three fully armed men came forward in the darkness. 

c 



34 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

I asked them what they were doing there, and the 
voice that had answered me before replied that they 
were all three members of the Chagai Levies, and 
that they, and about fifty others, had come out to 
fight me. 

" To fight me? " I exclaimed. " Whatever for? " 

" Well, Sahib," returned the man who had said his 
name was Idu, " we thought you were a German 
airship." And he went on to explain that for a long 
time he and his companions had been watching 
powerful lights floating about in the sky, and as they 
knew that Germans were the only people in the 
world who had haivaiijihaz or airships, they were 
convinced the lights they had seen belonged to one 
of these. And when it had alighted on the hill in 
front of them, the majority of his companions had 
been so terrified that they had run away, and only 
himself and his two comrades had had the bravery to 
stay where they were and face the unknown danger. 

Then it dawned on me what he was driving at. 
The flashing electric lights of the car, lighting up the 
distant, rising slopes of the desert, had appeared to 
these men to come from the sky, and my harmless 
motor-car the dreaded German airship. Cars, of 
course, along this route were as great a novelty as 
airships, and doubtless not one of the men in front of 
me had ever seen one before. 

I reassured them as completely as I could, adding 
that I was delighted to meet such redoubtable 
warriors, and hoped that now they would come with 



THE ROAD TO ROBAT 85 

me and help me, as my business was to fight 
Germans, airships and all. This was strictly true, 
for, but for German influence, there would have been 
no need to wage war on the Raiders who had only 
been induced to become our enemies by lying 
German propaganda. 

Idu said they would be only too glad to go with 
the Sahib and to help him fight the enemies of the 
British Raj. He also told me that he had already 
saved my life once that evening. 

" How was that? " I asked, my spirits rising as I 
gazed through the darkness at my first three recruits. 

" Well, Sahib," returned Idu, " when the airship, 
which you say is no airship, stopped, in a little while 
we saw the figure of a man, carrying a lantern moving 
towards us, and Halil here," laying his hand on the 
shoulder of one of his pals, " lifted his rifle and was 
about to shoot. But I said, e Nay. See, it is but one 
man. Let us wait and see who he is/ And then the 
lantern went out and there was no longer a target." 

" You did well, Idu," I said solemnly. " You 
have most certainly saved my life, and as you seem to 
be as intelligent as you are brave, I shall appoint 
you to my personal staff. I am the officer who has 
been sent out to take command of the forces along 
the Sarhad, and in Seistan. But at the present 
moment my chief concern is to find the right road to 
Saindak. Can you show it to me ? " 

Idu laughed. " I could lead you there blindfold, 
Sahib." 



36 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

I felt the difficulties of the road were now over, 
and, piloted by these three stalwarts, the car a 
source of the utmost excitement and wonderment to 
them Allan, Allah-dad and my weary self were, ere 
long, safe in the rest-house of the small mud fort at 
Saindak. 

The following morning, after a good night's rest, 
I had a long talk with Idu, and the very favourable 
impression I had formed of the man the night before 
was greatly increased. I found him by daylight to 
be a highly intelligent-looking, splendidly propor- 
tioned fellow of about five feet eight, with a big 
black beard. I had glimpses, even then, of the keen 
sense of humour which was to do so much to lighten 
the difficulties of the ensuing campaign. Never 
once in all the months to come did I find his wit and 
humour fail. 

As after-events proved he was absolutely 
invaluable. In fact, I often called him, and told 
him that I called him, my " head." Not only did he 
know every yard of the country, but he knew by 
name practically every one of the Raiders, knew their 
peculiarities and their weak points as well as their 
strength. Idu was a man in a million, and I should 
like to think that, some day, this public appreciation 
of him, and of what he did to help in this campaign, 
may reach him. 

After breakfast and my talk with Idu, we set out 
on the last march of the first phase of my journey, 
and reached Robat by two o'clock in the afternoon. 



CHAPTER III 

A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 

An " intelligent " officer Matters political Three tribes and 
a fourth Their women and inter- tribal laws Sarhad 
conditions A summons to the Chiefs A bid for rank 
Telegraph wires and Sheitan Two first-class liars A 
strategic scheme An ung-azetted General Lost kit 
Swallows and flies Forces available Communications freed 
'The Kacha levy and a shock Mirjawa. 

MY first visit in Robat was to the officer who had 
been commanding the scattered British forces up to 
that date. He was a very sick man, and had been 
holding out with the utmost difficulty until he could 
be relieved. Here I met Major Landon of the 35th 
Scinde Horse, one of the three Intelligence Officers 
employed by the Indian Government in Persia. 

I very quickly realised that Landon was an officer 
of very high intelligence, as well as an Intelligence 
Officer, and that he had a fund of information 
concerning the country, and the conditions and 
characteristics of the inhabitants of both Persia and 
Baluchistan. In fact, I judged that he would be 
such an asset that, then and there, I invited him to 
become my Brigade-Major, although I ruefully 
remarked that I had, at present, no brigade! 

He was keen to accept, but did not know how 
the authorities at Simla would view his acceptance 

37 



38 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

of such a post, and asked me whether I should be 
willing to shoulder the responsibility of annexing 
him for the campaign. Considering that my 
shoulders were broad enough, I promptly replied 
that my orders had been to take command of all the 
scattered forces I could find and co-ordinate them, 
and that I looked upon him as my second " find," 
Idu and his two companions being the first. 
Further, that he was here as Intelligence Officer and 
would acquire no intelligence sitting down in Robat, 
whereas, if he came with me, he would get all he 
wanted at first hand ! 

I set myself to pick up all the information I could 
about the conditions of British " influence " in this 
part of Persia, and on the borders of Afghanistan. 
To make it in any way clear why we had any 
influence here at all we must revert to the old fear of 
the threatened advance of Russia on India, in the 
days before Russia became our ally in the Great War. 

Slowly and gradually Russia had been extending 
her influence in the Pamirs until her outposts on the 
Oxus River were only eight marches from Chitral. 
Evidently, as a wide counter, strategic move, the 
Indian Government had sought to increase its own 
influence with Persia and Afghanistan by pushing 
forward her outposts to Robat and Nasaratabad. 

Consequently, at the time of which I am writing, 
Robat, Nasaratabad and Birjand were held lightly 
by chains of small posts composed entirely of Indian 
troops and some local levies commanded by British 



A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 89 

* 

officers. Our lines of communication running from 
Birjand to Nushki, a distance of about six hundred 
miles, were held, in widely scattered posts, by only 
one battalion of Indian Infantry and one regiment of 
Indian Cavalry and four mountain guns. Thus it 
will be seen that it was very difficult to obtain any 
troops for a movable column. 

A British Consulate had also been established at 
Nasaratabad, which is on the borders of Afghanistan 
and Persia. During the War the importance and 
influence of the Consul increased considerably, as he 
was in a position to gather information which was of 
great value to the military commanders, who con- 
stantly sought his advice. 

There was also a Baluch Political Officer, known 
as the Sarhad-dar, who worked under orders from the 
British Political Officer at Quetta. The Sarhad-dar, 
to a certain degree, controlled the Sarhadi Raiders, 
occasionally with the help of the Chagai Levies, 
which were raised by the Indian Government for this 
particular work. 

Supplies were brought to these scattered posts by 
camel caravans from India. 

Communication with India was maintained by 
means of the telegraph. Later on it became 
necessary to send out a wireless troop from India 
to establish communication between my force at 
Khwash and Saindak. 

At the same time I did my best to learn all I could 
about the tribes amongst whom I was going to 



40 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

operate, their ways and customs, and the nature of 
the country in which they lived. 

A glance at the map will show the situation 
and boundaries of the Sarhad literally meaning 
boundary. It will be seen that it extends from Jalk 
in the East to Galugan in the West. The Eastern 
part, from Jalk to Safed-koh, is held by a tribe 
known as the Gamshadzais, under their notable 
leader, Halil Khan. 

The central portion is held by the Yarmahom- 
medzais under Jiand Khan, an elderly man, who has 
been undisputed chief, and a sort of over-lord of the 
whole of the Sarhad, for very many years. He has 
been looked upon by his own and neighbouring 
tribes as well-nigh a demi-god. As Jiand enters 
later, and largely, into this narrative all further 
description of him will be reserved till actual contact 
is established with him. 

Khwash known also as Vasht or Washt is the 
capital of the Sarhad, and is situated within Jiand's 
jurisdiction, although he is not the actual owner of the 
town. The word Khwash literally means " sweet/' 
and, I believe, owes its name to the water, which is, 
by the way, quite warm when it appears at the 
surface of the ground in the immediate vicinity. 

The Western portion of the Sarhad, extending 
roughly from Khwash to Galugan, is held by the 
-fsmailzaiS under their redoubtable leader, Juma 
Khan. 

All three of these tribes possess approximately 



A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 41 

one thousand families apiece, and, of course, each 
family has many members, as well as large numbers 
of camels, and herds of sheep and goats. 

Each of these tribes, at the time of which I write, 
could muster, roughly, from one to two thousand 
riflemen, chiefly armed with Mauser rifles and 
modern ammunition. 

South of Robat lay a fourth tribe, the JRgki&s 
fewer in number than any one of those already 
mentioned. This tribe was entirely friendly to the 
British, and, although nominally under a leader 
called Ibrahim, paid more heed to Idu, who, as I 
have already said, was one of the most remarkable 
men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He 
was also a Havildar (Sergeant) in the Chagai Levies ; 
a local force raised by the Indian Government. 

These various tribes all belong to the Sunni 
branch of the Mahommedan religion, and are of 
Arabjorigin. As a whole they are a fine-looking set 
of men, slim and graceful, with fine, intelligent faces, 
and aquiline features. Their hair is allowed to grow 
unrestricted, and falls in long black ringlets, on 
either side of the face, in true King Charles I. style. 
In fact, one of these men, with whom I afterwards 
made good friends, was nicknamed Charles I. on 
sight, as, with his flowing ringlets and short pointed 
beard, he bore such a strong resemblance to the 
pictures of that unfortunate monarch. 

These men are fine skirmishers, and will fight 
with the utmost bravery when well led, and have 



42 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

confidence in their leaders. Being nomads, they 
possess but few villages, such as Khwash, Gusht, and 
Jalk; which consist of a mud fort or forts and a few 
houses. Their lives are spent for the most part in 
tents, called Jugis, which are made of camels' hair, 
dyed black, and are pitched wherever a convenient 
spot can be found. 

Wives, families and herds accompany them on 
their wanderings from place to place. Their 
womenkind are often good-looking, and usually 
lighter skinned than the men. The women's 
endurance, too, is wonderful, for they can climb the 
precipitous hills with as much agility as the men, 
bear the hardships of long marches, the violent 
summer heat and the intense cold of the winter 
nights with great fortitude. They go unveiled, and 
appear to be treated well by their husbands and sons. 
In fact, in some notable instances, the women of the 
Sarhad exercise great influence over their husbands, 
and, when this is so, rule with the proverbial " rod of 
iron." Each man is allowed four wives, and, though 
he does not always acquire this number, he never 
exceeds it. 

The tribes literally live by raiding. They know 
no fear, and seldom show mercy. They not only 
raid travellers but villages, and, on occasion, large 
towns. These raids have been known to be pushed 
as far as Meshed, the sacred town and " Mecca " of 
Persia, which lies far away in the North upon the 
Turkestan border. Such expeditions are carried 



A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 43 

out with immense skill and cunning, and are seldom 
unsuccessful. The raiders not only loot jewels, 
carpets, food, cattle and herds, but women and 
children, whom they subject to a life of utter misery. 

Persian ladies are frequently carried off in this 
way, to become eventually abject slaves subject to 
inter-tribal barter. The prices paid for such slaves 
naturally vary according to quality, age and looks. 
As much as three hundred rupees may be taken as 
an average price for a young woman, and as little as 
twenty-five rupees for a small child. 

But, although they are utterly lawless in regard to 
other people, their few inter-tribal laws are fairly 
strictly observed. These laws, however, chiefly 
consist of the doctrine that Might is Right and 
Success pardons all Sins. In the Sarhad a man is 
expected to tell the truth unless a lie better suits 
his purpose. Any oath given on the Koran is 
binding, provided a Mullah or priest is present. 
Otherwise such an oath is as often honoured in the 
breach as in the observance. 

They have, however, some standards of honour to 
which they strictly adhere. If, for instance, they 
come as invited guests to your camp, or if you go as 
an invited guest to theirs, treachery is not thought 
of. The laws of hospitality, as in nearly all Eastern 
countries, are strictly maintained. 

Their food consists mostly of flour-cake, made, 
as a rule, of barley, though occasionally of wheat, 
and goat-flesh and wild herbs. As their herds always 



44 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

travel with them, except when fighting or raiding, 
there is always a plentiful supply of meat and milk. 
Their slaves, on the contrary, are half starved, and 
present the most pitiful contrast to their own women 
and children, who are well fed, healthy and provided 
with ample clothing. 

Their country, the Sarhad, is very arid, sandy, 
sparsely cultivated, and crossed by range upon range 
of bare volcanic hills, with rugged peaks and 
precipitous sides. Some of these hills rise to con- 
siderable heights, as, for example, the Koh-i- 
Bazman, overlooking Bampur in the South. This 
peak reaches an altitude of eleven thousand four 
hundred feet. The Koh-i-Taftan is another, of 
something over thirteen thousand feet, and is snow- 
capped in Winter and early Spring, despite the fact 
that it is an active volcano. The word Taftan 
signifies boiling. Its crater possesses two main 
outlets, from which clouds of sulphur-smoke are 
constantly being emitted. The whole summit is in 
consequence covered with white ash, so giving it a 
wonderfully imposing and picturesque appearance 
from a distance, especially at sunset or sunrise. The 
effect is very like that of Fuji-Yama, but certainly on 
a grander scale. 

The hills of this district are all of volcanic origin, 
and, for this reason, rich in sulphur and sal-ammoniac 
deposits. The low-lying country obviously once 
formed the bed of a sea, for the fossils to be found 
here in quantity are of marine origin, and the soil is 



A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 45 

thickly impregnated with salt. Fresh water is very 
scarce, though large salt water lakes are fairly 
frequent. 

It is interesting to think how much could be done 
with this country were some scheme of irrigation 
introduced. The natives have a simple method of 
supplying water to meet their wants. This is done 
by means of karezes, underground channels which 
tap underground springs and so bring the water to 
where it is wanted. 

Trees are occasionally planted by these karezes, 
in the towns, but otherwise are scarcely ever seen in 
this inhospitable, arid region, where it is even hard 
to find sufficient food for camels, horses or herds, 
when on the march. There are occasional valleys 
through which a small stream may flow for a certain 
distance, but which, very soon, disappears again into 
the sand. In those rare spots where water is plenti- 
ful the luxuriance of the vegetation is phenomenal, 
proving how fertile the country might become 
were it irrigated in the same way as are certain 
parts of India. Wheat, barley, spinach, cucumbers, 
pumpkins and green vegetables grow readily where 
water exists. 

Climatic conditions in these regions are curiously 
extreme. Great cold prevails in the Winter, but the 
heat in Spring and Summer is terrific. There is, 
too, a curious feeling of intense lightness in the 
atmosphere which induces a queer feeling of 
" emptiness " in those unaccustomed to its rarified 



46 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

quality. A hot wind, impregnated with sand, blows 
in Seistan more or less continually from April to 
July, so adding to the general discomfort of the 
white man. This wind is known as the Sad-o- 
bistroz (literally, " wind which blows for one hundred 
and twenty days "). But, though disagreeable and 
irritating, this wind saves the health of the Seistani 
inhabitants during the most trying months of the 
year, as it checks malaria by blowing away the 
mosquitoes. 

This rather vague, and very incomplete, attempt 
at a sketch of the people who were causing such 
serious trouble to our Government, and of the 
country in which they lived, may, at any rate, 
serve to give some idea of the foe, and his terrain, 
in this small but terse campaign which I shall 
make an attempt to describe in the following 
chapters. 

It grew more evident daily that it was necessary 
to organise a movable column to operate against 
the Raiders as soon as possible. 

There were more troops at Nasaratabad than at 
any other post, and I considered that some of these 
might well be taken for the purpose. Moreover, 
there was a British Consul there whose advice and 
information would be very valuable. Accordingly, 
Landon and I arranged to go there by car on the first 
possible day. 

But I thought it would be a good preliminary 
move to find out exactly how the land lay with regard 



A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 47 

to the Raiders, and to force them, so to speak, to 
declare their policy towards us. 

I therefore told the local Baluchi political officer 
to send out notices to Jiand Khan, the leader of the 
Yarmahommedzais, to Halil Khan, the leader of the 
Gamshadzais, to Juma Khan, leader of the Ismail- 
zais, and to the leader of the Rekis, to meet the new 
British General, just arrived from India, so that 
counsel might be taken together on a certain date at. 
a small post called Kacha. 

Of course, from all I had heard, I did not for one 
moment expect these Raider Chiefs to keep the 
rendezvous. But if, by some amazing chance, they 
did, we might come to some amicable arrangement 
and so avoid actual fighting. If, on the other hand, 
they refu'sed to do so, it would be tantamount to a 
declaration of war. 

A few days later I kept the appointment I had 
made, but, with the exception of the Reki leaders, 
who assured me of their consistent loyalty to the 
British, not a single Raider Chief turned up. 

Thereupon I returned to Robat and planned my 
campaign. 

Already I could see I was going to be badly 
handicapped by my lack of rank, and determined to 
make a bid for the rank which would give me more 
authority. With this object in view I sent a 
telegram to General Kirkpatrick already mentioned 
as Chief of Staff at Simla, and acting as Commander- 
in-Chief in the absence of General Sir Beauchamp 



48 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

E> u ff asking him to make me a General, and stating 
baldly that I considered it necessary. 

It may seem strange that, in this wild, desolate 
country, largely in the hands of lawless, rebellious 
tribes, it was possible to send a telegram at all. But 
a fine telegraph line, right across Persia, connecting 
Europe with India, has been in existence for over 
fifty years. The concession to erect this line was 
obtained from the Shah by Mr Eastwick in 1862, 
then British Charge d' Affaires in Teheran. 

There had been long negotiations over this 
concession, which had been consistently refused by 
the Persian Government; but the Shah's personal 
friendship for Mr Eastwick prevailed where diplo- 
matic negotiations had failed. It was a particularly 
advantageous arrangement for us, as, by the contract 
drawn up by the Persian Government in 1864, that 
Government undertook to construct a telegraph line 
from the Persian frontier, near Baghdad, to India, at 
the expense of Persia, but to place it under the 
control of British officers. This and other telegraph 
lines had not been interfered with or cut in any 
way by the Raiders, for the simple reason that they 
have strong superstitious fears of telegraph wires, 
and imagine them in some way to be in close 
communication with Sheitans (devils). 

Whilst I was awaiting a reply to my urgent 
request for an advance in rank, Idu, Landon and I 
took counsel together. I asked Idu whether he had 
two first-class liars amongst his friends, in whom he 




" A GOOD LIAR." 

London' : s orderly and chief s-py 



A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 49 

could place implicit trust. His eyes twinkled as he 
assured me he had many friends on whose complete 
fidelity, as well as on whose absolute qualifications, 
he could rely. 

I then unfolded to him my scheme. It was quite 
obvious that it would be utterly impossible to defeat 
the Raiders in open fight. They numbered several 
thousands of fully armed men, amply equipped, and 
supplied with all the ammunition and food they 
needed. They were also in their own country, every 
yard of which they knew well. 

In a straightforward fight any small force we 
could muster would be wiped out in a few minutes. 
But as it was necessary to fight and beat those 
Raiders, who were doing us such immeasurable 
damage, bluff must be used to strengthen our arms. 

I suggested to Idu that he should procure his two 
skilled friends and tell them, at the outset, that if 
they succeeded in the plan entrusted to them their 
pockets would be literally lined with rupees. They 
were, then, to run away from me to the two principal 
Raider Chiefs, Jiand and Halil Khan, and their 
story was to be that they had managed to escape 
from the great and famous British General who had 
just arrived with five thousand fully armed troops. 
Also, that this General Dyer was greatly incensed at 
their disobedient method of treating his summons to 
meet him at Kacha, and that he was starting in great 
force to attack them, but that he was planning to 
march first against Halil Khan in the direction of Jalk. 

D 



50 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

If Idu's men succeeded in making the Raiders 
swallow all this, the immediate stroke I had in view, 
namely, an attack on Khwash, might hope for some 
success. It would at any rate draw the Raiders off 
the lines of communication and so enable supply 
caravans to proceed to Robat. 

Idu was greatly taken with the idea. It appealed 
to his sense of humour, and he had soon produced 
his two spies, on whom, he assured us, he could rely 
as on himself. Their mission fully explained, Idu's 
friends started off at once. 

Meanwhile, though I was not yet a General I 
determined to act the part. The 28th Light Cavalry 
made crossed swords for my shoulders and the 
necessary red tabs. The former were considerably 
bigger than the regulation pattern, but were other- 
wise well made. Then Landon and I went off by 
car to Nasaratabad. 

We found the place to be a small mud- 
walled enclosure with walls of great thickness. 
Inside the enclosure were something like a 
hundred shops, for the most part kept by Persian 
soldiers, whose military duties are not usually 
onerous. We made our way to the Consul's house, 
and had a very interesting interview with him. 
Whilst we were there a telegram arrived from Simla 
informing me that I had been promoted to the rank 
of Brigadier-General. This was a great relief, for 
I now no longer felt an impostor. 

As a set-off against this bit of good news, I heard 



A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 51 

that the whole of my kit, which had followed me 
from Nushki, had been captured by the Raiders. 
In addition they had killed my horse, Galahad, 
robbed the groom of all his clothing and torn his 
golden ear-rings from his ears. On my return to 
Robat he came to me stark naked, with his nerves 
utterly shattered, and absolutely useless for any 
further service. 

We also met Colonel Claridge, who was com- 
manding the 28th Cavalry and the troops at 
Nasaratabad. I asked him to send to Robat as 
soon as possible all the food supplies he could 
collect, two mountain guns, a squadron of cavalry, 
and as many infantry as he could spare. I was very 
disappointed, however, at the few troops available 
at Nasaratabad for the expedition, but I realised that 
the situation in Afghanistan demanded the presence 
of a fairly strong garrison at Nasaratabad itself. 

On the way back to Robat we stopped at a post 
where I was accommodated in a room with a domed 
mud roof, which had been whitewashed. As I lay 
on my blankets in the morning, gazing up at the 
roof, I noticed that the dome was covered with small 
black spots. As the light grew stronger I realised 
that they were flies, thousands of them, in a comatose 
condition, owing to the cold of the night. 

As the morning advanced, swallows flew in by the 
open door, and, fluttering round the dome, picked off 
the helpless flies one by one, until not a single one 
was left. 



52 THE RAIDERS OP THE SARHAD 

Directly we reached Robat Landon and I set to 
work on our plans. After considerable thought we 
determined to make an attempt to capture Khwash, 
the capital of the Sarhad, and so endeavour to entice 
the Raiders off our lines of communication. But it 
took some time to get the guns and food supplies to 
Robat, for Robat was quite one hundred miles from 
Nasaratabad. It was also necessary to get in enough 
supplies for a month at least, as it was useless 
placing reliance on anything reaching us from 
India. In other words we had to be quite 
independent of all lines of communication. 

At last the two guns, and supplies, under Major 
MacGowan, reached Robat, where were now 
collected about a dozen or fifteen of Idu's Chagai 
Levies, and seventeen Sawars of the 28th Light 
Cavalry under Lieutenant Hirst. But I still had 
no infantry. That, however, I hoped to get at 
Kacha, the garrison of which consisted of a hundred 
sepoys of the igth Punjab Infantry, and two maxim 
guns. 

Therefore, Landon and I arranged to go to Kacha 
for the infantry, while MacGowan proceeded with 
his two guns, seventeen cavalrymen and supplies, 
direct to Mirjawa, via Saindak. We would then 
join him there, as soon as we had collected the 
infantry for our advance on Khwash. 

Our real movements had been kept marvellously 
secret, whilst the news of the five thousand fully 
armed troops under my command had been spread 



A PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 53 

far and near by Idu's spies ; the consequence being 
that the Raiders were all quietly retiring, from 
raids upon our lines of communication, to organise 
their own Ioshkar s (armies), and their own 
defence. 

Thus, and at any rate temporarily, the lines of 
communication of our scattered frontier posts were 
cleared, and without striking a blow. One small 
objective had at least been accomplished. 

While MacGowan's little force was making its 
way to Mirjawa, Landon and I rode to Kacha, 
reaching that place on the 2nd of April. There 
Lieutenant Yates, of the i2th Pioneers, paraded all 
the men he could lay his hands on in front of the 
mess-house, and, as we rode up, gave the order for 
the men to present arms. 

The result was a shock. 

I dismounted and called on all those men who had 
ever fired a shot in their lives to fall out. 

To my dismay only nine men obeyed. 

Lieutenant Yates told me that he had done his 
best with the men, but the greater proportion of 
them were mere raw recruits. It was a bitter disap- 
pointment, and it was very obvious that a great deal 
of brick-making had to be done without straw. 
But there was nothing else for it. These were 
the only men, trained or untrained, available for 
the expedition, and I had to be thankful for 
them. 

I took the nine trained soldiers, sixty-five of the 



54 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

untrained recruits, and two maxim guns belonging 
to the 1 2th Bioneers, and, with these, Landon and 
I made our way to the rendezvous at Mirjawa, 
where we all met on the evening of the 6th of 
April. 



CHAPTER IV 

BLUFF AND ARMS 

Ladis and its fort A force without arms First sight of the 
enemy Shah Sawar and more bluff Battle Bluff succeeds 
Casualties Bad news from the North Idu's proposition 
Jiand's stragglers Jiand's white flag. 

THE following day we marched to Ladis, reaching 
that place just before nightfall, and without incident. 

Ladis is a camping place situated in a compara- 
tively fertile tract of country fully four thousand feet 
above sea-level on the slopes of the famous Koh-i- 
taftan. A considerable stream flows through the 
valley. If this stream were exploited for irrigation 
purposes the whole district could be made most 
productive and profitable. The climate is far 
better than in the greater part of the Sarhad, and 
there is an abundance of chikor and other partridges, 
ibex, and wolves. 

On the right bank of the stream is a fine old 
deserted fort, which is far more substantially built 
than the occupied forts of Khwash and Jalk, but it 
has been ruined by the disintegrating effect of the 
water on the banks on which it is built. A passage 
at the base of it indicates that at one time an under- 

55 



56 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

ground tunnel connected the fort, which lies on the 
right bank, with the left bank, thus affording a means 
of escape, or of reinforcement, for the garrison. 

We found, waiting for us at Ladis, a band of 
about fifty Rekis, who had come to join the 
expedition in answer to an urgent appeal from Idu. 

I found they had no arms, ammunition or equip- 
ment, and asked them where their rifles were. 

' We have none, Sahib," their spokesman replied. 
" We thought the General Sahib would give us 
rifles." 

I was obliged to tell them that we had no spare 
arms, but as every extra man would be an asset in 
our great game of bluff I was not going to let them 
go, and would find some means of utilising their 
services. 

At first they were greatly disappointed to find 
that they were not going to be awarded a free issue 
of British rifles, and commented on the absurdity 
of a force of the size they saw before them attempt- 
ing to attack the great Raider Chief, Jiand Khan. 

" Why, Sahib," the spokesman said, " Jiand has 
fully two thousand well-armed men, all out to meet 
you. They will wipe you out in about two 
minutes." 

If it came to an open fight we all knew that this 
was literally true. But we were relying on bluff and 
luck. 

The local political officer, a Baluch, was entirely 
of the Rekis' way of thinking, and did his utmost to 



BLUFF AND ARMS 57 

persuade us to turn back and save our skins. But 
we had not come so far to turn back. Orders were, 
therefore, given to go forward. 

Fortunately for us, and before we struck camp 
early on the following morning, another political 
officer arrived to supersede him a man of totally 
different calibre. Khan-Bahadur, the Sarhad-dar 
(the chief political officer of all matters concerning 
the Sarhad) was full of fight, greatly taken with our 
game of bluff, and fully prepared to enter into its 
spirit, the only spirit which could possibly bring such 
an enterprise as ours to a successful conclusion. 

From Ladis the force marched South in the 
direction of Khwash, covering about eighteen miles. 
This was not bad going when it is remembered that 
the average rate for a camel caravan over rough 
sandy country of this sort is about ten or twelve miles 
a day. We camped that night in a narrow valley, 
surrounded by hills, and with a good water supply. 

The following day the march was resumed, and 
we were beginning to wonder how soon we should 
get in touch with Jiand's forces when our advance 
scouts reported that the enemy was just ahead, and 
encamped on the low hills running out in spurs from 
the Koh-i-Taftan. 

Our force was halted, and, riding forward myself, 
I dismounted and took a good look at the enemy's 
position. This appeared to be, as I had to admit 
to myself, a very strong one, and, as far as I could 
gather, it looked as if it had been no idle report that 



58 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

Jiand's force numbered something like two thousand 
men. In any case we were in for it now, and must 
take our chances as they came. 

I rode back, ordered the mountain guns to be 
brought up to some low hills on the left, and the 
cavalry to move forward under cover to the right. 

The transport camels, numbering about six 
hundred, now came up, under cover, and were put in 
charge of the sixty-five untrained infantrymen. The 
two machine guns were brought up to a favourable 
position in the centre, and our little force was now 
fully deployed for action. 

At this moment a man mounted on a camel was 
seen coming from the enemy's camp, accompanied 
by a man on foot carrying a white flag of truce. 

When the messenger had approached nearer the 
Sarhad-dar exclaimed, " Why, it is Shah Sawar 
himself! " 

Now Shah Sawar was a very famous Raider 
Chief, and a relation of Jiand's. At one time he had 
been the owner and governor of Khwash, but it 
appears that he had greatly coveted, as a bride, a 
very beautiful lady known as the Gul-Bibi, or Rose 
Lady. As usual, negotiations were conducted 
between the prospective bridegroom and the lady's 
nearest male relative, who, in this instance, happened 
to be a somewhat weak-charactered man named 
Mahommed-Hassan. The price that Mahommed- 
Hassan placed on the Gul-Bibi was no less than the 
ownership of Khwash itself. Shaw Sawar's infatu- 



BLUFF AND ARMS 59 

ation drove him to pay the price, though, from what 
I came to know of the ruffian afterwards, I am 
perfectly convinced that he had every intention of 
recovering his patrimony as soon as a favourable 
opportunity presented itself. 

When he rode up to me, preceded by the flag of 
truce, I was struck by his fine appearance. 

He announced that he had come with a message 
from his kinsman, Jiand Khan, to the effect that, 
" If the General Sahib, accompanied by only one 
man, would meet Jiand half-way, Jiand, also accom- 
panied by one man, would meet him and discuss the 
situation." 

Of course the very last thing I wanted to do was 
to prolong any negotiations. Every moment that 
passed increased the danger that our bluff would be 
discovered, for it was quite obvious that, up to date, 
Jiand believed in the existence of the great force 
being brought against him under a British General, 
as reported to him by Idu's spies. Therefore, it 
was necessary to bluster, and answer indignantly, 
" How dare you come to a British General with any 
such proposal from a scoundrel like Jiand? Go 
back and tell him that I am coming, not half-way, 
but the whole way, and at once. I will give you 
time to take him my message. I will then fire a 
shot into the air as the signal that hostilities have 
begun, and the attack, which will wipe him out, will 



commence." 



Shah Sawar was visibly impressed, and, after a 



60 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

few moments' hesitation, beckoned to the man who 
had come with him. After a whispered colloquy the 
latter returned to Jiand with the General Sahib's 
message. Shah Sawar himself said that he intended 
to remain with me. 

He was obviously cowed and bewildered. He 
firmly believed we had a great army in the low hills 
behind us, and deemed it safer to remain with us as 
a prisoner than to return to Jiand's camp and engage 
in a battle against five thousand troops which he 
could not see from his present position ! 

Whilst the messenger was racing back to Jiand 
the seventeen cavalrymen were ordered to show 
themselves, and as they topped the hills, apparently 
the advance guard of a great force, their big horses 
looked most imposing. 

Lieutenant Hirst, commanding them, was directed 
to make a pretence of threatening the left flank and 
rear of Jiand's position, but ordered not to go too 
close ! 

Then, as soon as information came that Jiand's 
messenger had reached his camp some six hundred 
yards distant and had had time to deliver his 
message, one of the Chagai Levies was ordered to 
fire a shot into the air as a signal that the battle 
had begun. 

He pulled his trigger, but nothing happened. 

I told him to try again. 

Again he pulled the trigger, and this time with 
the desired result. 



BLUFF AND ARMS 61 

The battle had begun. 

The order to charge was given. The cavalry 
moved rapidly to the right, the machine guns 
rattled, and the infantry nine trained men and a 
handful of Chagai Levies, rushed forward in the 
centre. 

What happened in the enemy's camp I only 
learned afterwards, but it appears to have been as 
follows: Jiand, seeing the cavalry advancing as if 
to threaten his retreat, really believed that the 
mythical army of five thousand was commencing its 
attack in full force, and, mounting his own camel, he 
gave an order which literally amounted to a " sauve 
qui peut." In any case, and in a moment, his force 
was scattered in a frenzy of terror, and in full retreat, 
amongst the hills and valleys. 

For a moment Landon and I looked at each other. 
Then, as we realised that the great bluff had 
succeeded, we rushed forward, with a loud whoop, 
closely accompanied by the Sarhad-dar. As we 
were mounted, we got ahead of the others, and 
actually overtook a number of Jiand's men retreating 
down a nullah. We emptied our revolvers into 
them, and some of our infantry coming up, their 
terror was increased, for they thought they had been 
trapped by overwhelming numbers. 

The enemy had suffered a loss of seven killed. 
On our side we had one man wounded, and I 
honestly believe he was wounded by one of our own 
untrained infantrymen, who, in the excitement and 



62 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

enthusiasm of the moment, had disobeyed orders 
and joined in the chase. 

By the evening there was no one left in sight to 
chase, so we halted and made preparations to camp 
where we were. Only a few hours before we had 
known that if the truth of our numbers had leaked 
out not one of us would live till night to tell the tale. 
Fortunately the secret had been well kept, and, 
although we had only accounted for seven of the 
enemy, it was obvious we had won a decisive victory. 
Jiand's entire force was scattered and demoralised, 
and it would take him a considerable time, even 
when he did learn how he had been tricked, to collect 
them again. 

He was a very notable man, with enormous power 
and prestige, not only with his own tribe, the 
Yarmahommedzais, but with all the nomad tribes of 
the district, and was regarded as a personage by 
the Governments of both India and of Persia. His 
defeat would be a very bitter pill for him to swallow. 
Although he was looked on by the Ismailzais and 
the Gamshadzais as a sort of over-lord, even of their 
own Chiefs, there was always great rivalry between 
the various tribes, and he would know that Juma 
Khan, whilst outwardly sympathising with him, 
would, in reality, be jubilant. 

Accordingly, and for the sake of his own prestige, 
he must make the most of the forces brought against 
him. That very evening I learned from one of his 
men, who had been overtaken and brought back 



BLUFF AND ARMS 68 

as a prisoner, that he had given out that he had 
had seven hundred men killed and amongst the 
number was his own favourite son. The death of 
this son, I afterwards found, was a bitter blow to 
the famous old Chief, and I have always been sorry 
that he credited my hand as being the one which 
had struck him down, though this was absolutely 
untrue. 

Seven men multiplied by a hundred was not bad 
as a free advertisement. But I determined to go 
one better. 

" Seven hundred! " I retorted to the trembling 
prisoner. " Nonsense! If you had said seven 
thousand, it would be far nearer the mark." 

Now the great thing was to make the most of 
our almost bloodless victory near Koh-i-taftan, and 
pursue Jiand and his men as far as possible amongst 
the rocky fastnesses of the hills into which they had 
fled. If only the old ruffian could be persuaded to 
surrender before the bluff was called, it would be 
just possible to make the other tribes think that the 
whole game was up, and so make terms with us; 
thus obviating a long and harassing campaign. 

So we pursued him for two days, as far as 
Kamalabad, his own special winter headquarters, 
nearly overtaking him. But he just eluded us as 
we entered the place by riding out at the other end, 
and so escaped into the Morpeish Hills, where it 
was quite hopeless to think of following him with 
our very small force. 



64 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

On the other hand, if we left him there, he became 
an hourly menace. It could be only a question of 
time before Jiand would be bound to learn how he 
had been duped. He would then collect his men 
once more, summon the other tribes to his assistance, 
and wipe out our little force as he might have done, 
had he only known, at Koh-i-taftan. 

Moreover, news had just reached us of an 
untoward little incident which had occurred away 
to the West of Robat. A small British force had 
been operating in the vicinity of Nasaratabad-sippi 
(not to be confused with Nasaratabad in Seistan) 
and this force had been attacked in overwhelming 
numbers by the Ismailzais, under Juma Khan. It 
had suffered considerable loss, not only in men, but 
in mules, rifles, and, most important of all, ammuni- 
tion. The British officer commanding had fought 
ably and had averted disaster, but the losses had 
been sufficient to create a rumour that Juma Khan 
had scored an exaggerated victory. 

This must undoubtedly be avenged, and the only 
hope of doing so was to strike at once, and whilst 
Jiand's forces were still scattered and demoralised. 

Landon, the Sarhad-dar, Idu and I immediately 
took counsel together. We discussed the reports 
of the various scouts who had been sent out in every 
direction. It appeared that the redoubtable Jiand 
had received a great shock, and that his nerves were 
thoroughly shattered. He had dearly loved his 
son, and the loss was a great grief. He also firmly 



BLUFF AND ARMS 65 

believed he had lost a great number of his followers 
in killed and wounded, and his pride was suffering 
badly in the loss of his prestige as a practically 
unbeaten Chief. 

Then Idu evolved a brilliant scheme by which 
he believed we should be able to lure Jiand, in his 
present broken state, to surrender. Kamalabad, 
where we were at present encamped, and which 
was Jiand's favourite winter residence, is one of the 
few spots in the Sarhad well irrigated and con- 
sequently well cultivated. The place is freely 
intersected with karezes, from which the fields are 
systematically watered. Moreover, the valley is 
watered on its Western side by a stream which 
gushes out of the ground, and, after flowing past 
Gazo, winds round the Northern slopes of the 
Morpeish Hills and the Sar-i-drokan, to lose itself 
soon afterwards in the sand. 

Kamalabad is not, strictly speaking, a village, as 
there are no houses there. But it becomes densely 
populated when Jiand's nomad families camp there 
in their jugis during the winter months. 

Beyond this fertile valley, which for half the 
year is teeming with life, though it is practically 
deserted during the summer months, the Morpeish 
Hills rise abruptly and precipitately out of the plain 
to a height of ten thousand feet. 

On the farther side of these hills, and shut in 
beyond by the Sar-i-drokan Range, rising to about 
the same height as the Morpeish Hills, and running 



66 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

parallel with them for a distance of about seventy- 
five miles, is another valley, Jiand's favourite summer 
haunt. 

It will thus be seen that it was utterly impossible 
to think of attempting to drive Jiand out of his 
refuge. Even supposing that we succeeded in 
dislodging him from the Morpeish Hills he would 
at once make for the Sar-i-drokan, a range which 
would be still more difficult to negotiate, apart from 
the fact that it would draw us farther and farther 
from our base and any hope of supplies. But it 
was evident that something must be done, and done 
quickly. Idu's proposal was, therefore, the only 
one offering any hope of success. 

All the crops of wheat and barley in the Kamala- 
bad Valley were then at their full growth, though 
still green, and it was upon these crops, when 
harvested, that Jiand and the entire Yarmiahom- 
medzai tribe relied for their yearly bread supply. 

Idu's idea was substantially this, that we should 
send a message to Jiand, whilst he still believed 
himself pursued by a vast force, summon him to 
surrender forthwith, and tell him that, if he failed 
to comply with the instant summons, the whole of 
his crops would be destroyed. Anyhow the idea 
was worth trying. 

Accordingly, trustworthy messengers were sent to 
him telling him that if he surrendered himself on 
behalf of his tribe, before sundown on the following 
day, the lives of himself and his followers would 



BLUFF AND ARMS 



67 



be safe, and his crops would be spared. If, however, 
he failed to surrender by the appointed time, six 
hundred camels, which had already arrived with the 
advance guard of the great force operating against 
him, would be turned loose in his fields, and, as he 
well knew, would make very short work of his crops. 

The hours that passed between the sending out 
of the messengers, and the time limit for Jiaind's 
surrender, were very anxious ones. Would bluff 
continue to carry us through, or had the bubble 
been pricked? 

During that day news reached us from stragglers, 
who came trembling to join us at Kamalabad, that 
many of the old people and women of Jiand's tribe 
were in great distress. During the headlong flight 
of himself and his fighting men the weaklings were 
left behind, and, in their terror, they had fled into 
all sorts of hiding places where there was neither 
water nor food. Orders were immediately given 
that they were to be reassured and succoured in 
every way, and that food and water were to be 
supplied to them, also jugis, wherever possible, to 
shelter them. 

The day passed and the time limit was rapidly 
running out when, between four and five o'clock in 
the afternoon, we saw a little group of men emerge 
from the Morpeish Hills, carrying a white flag. 

These men approached and announced that they 
had come as emissaries from Jiand Khan, who was 
on his way to surrender. He admitted his defeat 



68 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

by the overwhelming numbers brought against him, 
said he knew it was no use continuing to fight against 
them, and that his heart was broken by the loss of 
his son. For the sake of his people he must save 
the crops or they would surely die. Therefore, if 
the General Sahib swore on his honour that the lives 
of himself and his men would be safe, and that his 
crops would be spared, he would surrender. 



CHAPTER V 

KHWASH AND MORE BLUFF 

Jiand's surrender A political lecture Jiand's oath Bluff for 
Khwash The army moves forward Khwash and its fort 
Mahommed-Hassan comes in Beetles as scavengers Halil 
Khan comes in Rifle prices, a comparison Idu's warning 1 
News of Izzat Order of march Bluff for Bampur The 
meteor hole. 

AT five o'clock Jiand arrived riding a camel, and 
followed by a few attendants. 

I went forward to meet him, and treated him with 
all the courtesy due to his position. 

He dismounted and offered his salaams. He was 
a fine but pathetic-looking figure a tall, spare 
man but the weight of years, and the strain 
of recent events, were beginning to bow his 
shoulders. His thick beard was quite grey, but 
his eyes could still flash with passion and anger, 
though, at present, they were dulled with grief and 
humiliation. 

I immediately offered him my condolences 
on the death of his son, and told him I had 
heard that he believed that I personally was 
responsible for his death. I assured him that this 

69 



70 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

was not so, and that I greatly regretted that so 
valiant a father should suffer the loss of a valiant 
son. I then invited him to sit down on a small rise 
of ground where a few sparse bushes offered some 
shade from the sun, and as we had no seats we sat 
down on the ground round him. 

I pointed out to Jiand his folly in having proved 
false to the traditional friendship which had existed 
between him, his tribes and the British Raj. I also 
told him that I knew perfectly well he had 
been misled by German -Jigs as to the breaking of 
British power, coupled with advice to harry the 
British lines of communication, and to help himself 
to all supplies upon which he could lay his hands 
before the German forces advanced into India, for, 
when they did, nothing much would be left to take. 
But, I asked him, how could a man of his intelligence 
have ever allowed himself to be gulled in such a 
manner? Had he thought, he must have known that 
British might was far too firmly established to be 
overthrown by anything so despicable as the German 
race, and he must have known too that, in deserting 
his old friends the British, and in fighting against 
them, he was only courting disaster. 

I further asked him if he had ever, with his own 
eyes, seen one of the German airships which they 
had been boasting were flying everywhere, destroying 
enemy's lands, towns and herds. Jiand admitted 
that he had not. 

I asked him how it came about that, if he had 



KHWASH AND MORE BLUFF 71 

really believed so much in the strength and power of 
the Germans, not one of them was to be found in 
the district to come to his help in his present 
difficulties? Either they were cowards and had run 
away, or they had lied to him and there had never 
been any German forces sweeping on victoriously 
to wipe out the British Raj. 

Jiand admitted the force of all my arguments, and 
replied that he, and all the Sarhadis, had been grossly 
deceived, but pleaded that he himself had done his 
best to restrain his men from interfering with the 
British lines of communication, warning them that 
it was neither safe nor wise. However, he could 
not seriously have expected that I would swallow 
this excuse, as he was known to be held in such awe 
by his followers that not one of them would have 
dared to dispute his authority. 

I demanded the return of all government camels 
and stores and of my kit, captured between Nushki 
and Robat, and he assured me that everything 
should be sent back in full. 

While we were talking I noticed his eyes kept 
wandering round, and, at last, he could restrain his 
curiosity no longer, and asked me point blank where 
the vast mass of troops was which had conquered 
his own. 

I replied, " It was not necessary to bring all my 
men to Kamalabad. I only came here with m.y 
advance guard to make you my prisoner. We have 
yet to capture Khwash." 



72 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

The rest was left to his imagination. 

His parole was then demanded, which he promptly 
gave, and solemnly swore, on the Koran, that 
neither he nor any of his tribe, would raise a hand 
again against the British Raj. 

Neither he nor the handful of men he had brought 
with him, were disarmed. We had to continue our 
game of bluff and had to show that we were not in 
the least afraid of him. 

After I had dismissed him, telling him he would 
accompany me wherever I went under open arrest, 
Landon, the Sarhad-dar, Idu and myself took 
counsel together as to the best way to obtain 
the surrender of Khwash with its fort, the main 
stronghold of the Yarmahommedzais. 

We decided to send a couple of Landon's scouts 
direct to Khwash about nineteen miles distant 
with a message to Mahommed-Hassan, telling him 
that Jiand was a prisoner in my hands, and that he 
himself admitted a loss of seven hundred men killed 
in open fight with my forces, but that the figure was 
an under-estimate. Shah Sawar was also a prisoner 
in my hands. I called on him, therefore, to 
surrender the fort of Khwash to me before twelve, 
noon, on the following day, or warned him I should 
blow the whole place to the skies. Nor should I 
hold myself responsible for the future action of my 
troops. 

Idu's eyes twinkled. " Just suppose, General 
Sahib, that Mahommed-Hassan refuses; may I ask 



KHWASH AND MORE BLUFF 73 

how you propose to blow Khwash to the skies or 
anywhere ? " 

I replied with becoming dignity that I should of 
course blow it to the skies with my artillery. 

Idu roared with laughter. He said he had seen 
my pop-guns firing and he was afraid that, unless our 
bluff could do the trick, I should be unpleasantly 
surprised at the strength of the walls of Khwash. 

The next morning our entire force of two 
mountain guns, two machine guns, seventeen 
cavalrymen, nine trained and sixty-five untrained 
infantry and a handful of Chagai Levies, moved 
forward to the assault of the Raiders' stronghold. 
By eleven o'clock, and while we were still about 
three miles distant, we came into full view of the 
fort. Even from that distance I could see that Idu's 
boast as to its strength was no idle one, and that 
if Mahommed-Hassan elected to put up a fight we 
could not possibly expect to be able to take it by 
assault. 

Our anxieties were now further increased by 
rumours that Halil Khan, with all his Gamshadzais, 
was on the way to reinforce Jiand, of whose personal 
surrender he had not yet heard. 

Our objective, Khwash, lay on a plateau about six 
miles wide, bordered on either side by two ranges 
of hills. These hills have an altitude of some six 
thousand feet and run parallel to each other on the 
North-East and South-West sides of the fort. The 
fort itself is somewhere about four thousand five 



74 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

hundred feet above sea-level. This plateau was 
at one time well populated, well wooded and culti- 
vated with some seventy-three karezes running 
along it, all tapping the great underground 
stream which flows from the Southern slopes of the 
Koh-i-taftan. 

We were hot and played out after our sixteen- 
mile march, so halted to rest, and to speculate as to 
whether Mahommed-Hassan would surrender on, or 
before, the time-limit given him. 

We had not long to wait, however, for hardly 
had we halted when we saw a messenger, on foot 
and carrying a white flag, coming towards us. 

He salaamed as he reached us and said he bore 
a message from Mahommed-Hassan, imploring me 
not to blow Khwash into the skies, as he had heard 
all about the defeat of the Yarmahommedzais under 
Jiand, and that, under the circumstances, he recog- 
nised the folly of attempting to oppose my advance. 
Moreover, he was now on his way to surrender 
himself and the fort. 

So bluff still held the day! 

And sure enough, a few minutes later, 
Mahommed-Hassan, a miserable-looking creature, 
arrived and tendered his formal surrender. 

As we marched forward in style to enter the fort 
the Yarmahommedzai garrison marched out and 
joined the local population of " Khwashis," who 
have lived in and around the fort for many 
generations. These latter are peaceful cultivators 



KHWASH AND MORE BLUFF 75 

of the soil, and are allowed to exist because they are 
useful servants to Jiand and his fighting men. 

They and their womenfolk are graciously allowed 
to keep a certain proportion of the crops they grow, 
the bulk of which goes to Jiand. These Khwashis 
are a much lower type of humanity than the Raiders, 
and only ask to be allowed to exist in peace. 

The fort, on closer inspection, proved to be some 
seventy yards square, with two gates, one to the 
South-East and one to the North- West. The outer 
walls rise to about thirty feet with towers at the four 
corners, three of which are about thirty-five feet 
high, while the fourth is probably fully fifty feet. 
This latter tower was the one occupied by the 
garrison. 

Of the seventy-three fine karezes originally 
existing in and around the fort we could only find 
two. But one of these was a particularly good one 
whose waters came to the surface and flowed outside 
the South-East walls in an extraordinarily clear and 
limpid stream, in refreshing contrast to so many of 
the tepid, brackish streams found throughout the 
Sarhad. 

But the one feature of the neighbourhood which 
struck me most forcibly was the quantity of beetles 
to be found everywhere. Never in my life have 
I seen so many. They were of the variety 
commonly known as dung-beetles. This kind is 
larger than the ordinary house beetle, round and 
flat, jet black, and can fly, which adds to its 



76 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

unpleasantness. Directly occasion offers it flies 
from every direction and is soon rapidly and 
effectively at work. As a scavenger, unpleasant as 
it is, it undoubtedly represents a provision of nature 
to keep the place where sanitation is unknown- 
clean and healthy. 

A few trees are scattered round Khwash, and a 
welcome sight these were after unending vistas of 
sandy waste and bare hillside. 

The country in the close vicinity of Khwash was 
well cultivated, whilst I noted with satisfaction that 
some of the hill slopes were covered with a tall grass. 
This would prove invaluable as fodder for the 
horses. 

That same day another piece of good news 
reached us, to the effect that Halil Khan, the great 
leader of the Gamshadzais, had just heard of the 
surrender of Jiand, also the full details of his great 
defeat, and loss of seven hundred men. But beyond 
this the news ran that he was coming himself to 
surrender, and to tell me that he had seen the folly 
of his past actions. 

Upon receipt of this news Landon and I looked 
at each other and then roared with laughter. We 
began to realise that the Battle of Koh-i-taftan had 
indeed been a decisive victory! 

That same evening Halil Khan, and about fifty 
of his chosen men, arrived, and, formally salaam- 
ing, surrendered themselves. I was immensely 
impressed by the appearance of this Raider Chief. 



KHWASH AND MORE BLUFF 77 

He was not very tall, but was magnificently 
proportioned and developed, with an intelligent, 
handsome head, and a peculiarly alert look. He 
certainly looked what he was well known to be, 
namely, one of the best fighting leaders in the 
Sarhad. 

He and all his men were armed with Mauser rifles 
and an abundance of ammunition. Halil Khan 
seemed wedded to his, and when he was informed 
that the General Sahib was going to extend to him 
the same terms as to Jiand and allow him to keep 
his rifle, his joy was very apparent. 

These German rifles had either been provided by 
the Germans, and sent direct across Persia, or were 
the outcome of the gun-running in the Persian Gulf 
prior to the War. 

The price of a Mauser in the Sarhad, at that time, 
was about one thousand one hundred rupees, though 
I was glad to learn that the British Lee-Enfield was 
valued at one thousand two hundred rupees. The 
real cost of manufacturing these rifles is, I believe, 
from six to ten pounds or sixty to one hundred 
rupees, so that it will be seen what sort of a price the 
Raiders are prepared to pay for their arms. 

Halil Khan was particularly anxious to learn how 
we had managed to defeat Jiand, and was of course 
curious to know where the vast British forces were. 
But he gathered no more information than Jiand 
had done. 

My own private opinion is that Halil Khan was 



78 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

disgusted with Jiand for surrendering, and that he 
himself would have dearly loved a fight, for as I 
was afterwards to learn to my cost he was not 
only a magnificent fighter, but did not know the 
meaning of fear. 

The only way in which I can account for his own 
surrender for only a day or so previously he had 
been fully prepared to fight us is that he had just 
become aware of the fact that Jiand was a prisoner 
in our hands. He was afraid, therefore, that if he 
attacked us the proud old Chief might suffer, . and 
that, on the whole, it would be wiser to appear 
submissive for the moment. 

But Idu warned me at the time, and again and 
again in the immediate future, " Jiand and Halil 
Khan will never rest until they have fought you 
again. Unless you can get a much larger force, at 
the very first opportunity, and almost certainly when 
they learn that you have at present practically no 
troops, they will turn and attack you. Place no 
reliance on their word or their oath, even though it 
be given on the Koran." 

That same evening I learnt of a great raid that 
had recently been made into Persia by a section of 
the Yarmahommedzais, under a leader called Izzat. 
As an outcome of this raid hundreds of Persian 
ladies and children had been dragged from their 
homes and brought by Izzat into the Sarhad, there 
to be bartered as slaves. Their sufferings, both 
from the indignity and shame of their present state, 



KHWASH AND MORE BLUFF 79 

and the hardships they must inevitably have under- 
gone amongst their nomad captors, after the com- 
parative luxury of their own homes, can well be 
imagined. 

The Sarhad-dar, a well-educated and sensitive 
man, as well as a brave fighter, was so overcome by 
the picture drawn of the sufferings of these wretched 
women and children that he burst into tears, and 
sobbing like a child, pleaded with me to ignore 
everything else and to at once set about returning 
these Persians to their homes. 

Strongly as my own wishes coincided with his, I 
knew such a course to be impossible. I had still 
more important things to do. Moreover, our own 
situation might become desperate at any moment. 
Although Jiand and Halil Khan, with a handful of 
their followers, were prisoners in my hands, their 
tribes were at large, and at the first suspicion of the 
trick that had been played on them would be on 
us like a swarm of bees. It must be remembered 
too, that Juma Khan of the Ismailzais was still at 
liberty, in a position to learn that we really had no 
troops, and might bring his men against us at any 
moment. 

It was obvious, therefore, that I had to deal with 
him before I dared attempt the rescue of any Persian 
women, though the thought of them and their 
plight, and the determination to endeavour to rescue 
and return them to their homes at the first possible 
moment never left me. 



80 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

The following day I decided to hold a Durbar, 
so gave orders that all the Sarhadi Chiefs were to 
be present, and that they could bring as many of their 
followers as they chose. 

The Durbar was held on the banks of the stream, 
just outside the fort, and under the shade of one of 
the trees. We all sat on the ground, and I opened 
the Durbar as I thought a commissioner might do 
in India, though, truth to tell, I knew very little 
indeed about Durbars ! 

I explained to the Sarhadi Chiefs, Jiand, Halil 
Khan, Shah Sawar, and Mahommed-Hassan, 
that the Sirkar (literally, ruling power) was not 
represented in force by what they saw at Khwash. 
They might be interested to know, however, that 
some four millions of the very finest troops in the 
world were then fighting under the British flag in 
various theatres of war all over the world, and that, 
as surely as night follows day, Germany would be 
defeated, because right and might were on our 
side. 

I explained to them collectively, as I had 
explained to Jiand individually, that they had been 
misled by German lies and propaganda into believing 
that Germany was winning, and also that the 
Germans had turned Mussulmans. I told them that 
it was quite the other way about, for, in point of 
fact, their own fellow-Mahommedans, the Turks, 
had really become Germans, taking their orders from 
their new masters, and had taken to drinking wine 



KHWASH AND MORE BLUFF 81 

and to doing other acts absolutely contrary to the 
teachings of the Koran. 

I told them that Christians never became Mahom- 
medans, though it was easy for them to say so to 
secure their own ends. I also told them that I 
would give them a lakh of rupees for every German 
they could produce who had really become a 
follower of the Prophet. I advised them that on 
such matters they should look for decision to the 
Sherif of Mecca as their spiritual head, and that he 
was entirely on the British side. 

They were then recommended no longer to make 
fools of themselves, for I had originally come to 
the Sarhad as their friend, and that, though they 
had fought against me, I was willing to let bygones 
be bygones and to be friends with them in the 
future. I also pointed out that all their interest lay 
in retaining the friendship of the Sirkar, for they 
would surely lose their country for ever if they 
persisted in the mad course of opposing us. 

I asked them why their new friends had not helped 
them to oppose me, with advice if with nothing else ? 
And, if these friends had 1 really been sweeping 
victoriously on to overcome the British Raj, why 
they were not there with them ? 

Jiand, Halil Khan, Shah Sawar and Mahommed- 
Hassan all expressed their keen regret at what had 
occurred, promised that they would return to their 
old allegiance, and that, instead of fighting me any 
more, they would help me to restore order in the 



82 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

Sarhad. They also promised to bring Juma Khan 
and his Ismailzais to book. 

I then explained my plans for the immediate 
future. I told them of my intention to retain 
Khwash as a pledge for their good behaviour, and 
until such time as a benign Indian Government 
might see fit to return it to them. But I promised 
that I would send in a faithful report of their 
repentance for their past misdeeds, and of their 
promise to assist us in the future, and told them they 
might rest assured that the Government would do all 
that was right and fair. 

The following day we marched out once more with 
the object of attacking Juma Khan at Galugan, 
leaving the head of the Reki clan (I think his name 
was Mirza Khan) in command of Khwash, with 
a few of his own tribe, and five of my nine infantry- 
men who could handle a rifle. Not, it will be con- 
sidered, a very formidable garrison to leave in charge, 
but it was impossible to spare any more men. 

We marched in the following order: Shah 
Sawar and his men were in front as advance guards, 
Halil Khan and the Gamshadzais on the left flank, 
and Jiand and his Yarmahommedzais on the right 
flank. Our infantry went with the baggage, and the 
guns and ammunition brought up the rear. The 
cavalry and a few infantrymen formed my personal 
escort. 

I hoped by this arrangement to keep the 
various Sarhadi Chiefs well apart so that they might 



KHWASH AND MORE BLUFF 83 

be unable to compare notes. My own small force 
was kept in the rear, and well together. 

I was asked by the Raiders why I was making all 
these careful arrangements to protect my camels. 

I replied that in war one had to be prepared to 
meet any emergency, and that I was not at all 
satisfied with what I had heard concerning the 
conduct of the Khan of Bampur, for there had been 
rumours that he might be foolish enough to try 
conclusions with me. 

Bampur is situated in Persian Baluchistan, fully 
six marches away to the South of Khwash, and is 
overlooked by the Koh-i-Bazman. Bampur, it will 
be remembered, was the old capital of Baluchistan, 
but to-day it is only a squalid collection of mud- 
built huts and deserted gardens, clustered round a 
semi-ruined fort standing in an unhealthy, malarial 
district. 

It was held at this date by a Baluchi Chief, 
apparently as cowardly as he was arrogant. The 
fear I expressed of his intention was to lull any 
possible suspicion of the Sarhadi Chiefs nominally 
my prisoners as to the formation of my battle 
array ; but there remained a modicum of truth behind 
the reason given. 

When we halted that night Landon, the Sarhad- 
8ar, Idu and myself, as usual, took counsel as to the 
next day's movements, and finally decided to send 
two of Landon's spies to Bampur. Arrived there 
they were to tell the Khan that they had run away 



84 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

from us to warn him, because my mighty army, now 
on the march, might possibly take Bampur in its 
stride. In addition they were to tell him that, whilst 
it was true that the General commanding had given 
out that he was only going to march along the borders 
of the Bampur district in order to reach Galugan, 
where he intended to crush Juma Khan, they fully 
believed this to be only a blind, and that Bampur 
was to be first destroyed. Khwash itself had 
recently been threatened, and had only escaped 
destruction by surrender. It was now left in charge 
of five hundred of the British General's best troops, 
with ample supplies for a month. 

It was only later on that I learned the success of 
this mission. The two spies arrived on a certain 
night at about one a.m. and did their part so well 
that, by two a.m., the terrified Khan had mounted 
his camel, and set forth for Makran. 

Makran is an arid region lying along the shores 
of the Persian Gulf, and stretching inland for a 
distance of about sixty miles. It is filled with bare, 
dry mountains, and hills with curiously serrated 
edges. From the more fertile parts large quantities 
of dates are grown and exported. 

Arrived at the headquarters of the British political 
officer, Colonel Dew, the Khan flung himself on his 
mercy, and implored him (so I have been told) not 
to allow General Dyer to attack him, though I have 
never seen Colonel Dew since to obtain an 
authentic account of the interview. 



KHWASH AND MORE BLUFF 85 

But this was another potential enemy cleared 
from our path, at any rate for the moment, and this 
was all that mattered to us. 

On, or about, the i5th of April we continued our 
march towards Galugan, and on the second day 
came in view of the Koh-i-Bazman, an extinct 
volcano. This is an imposing mountain of between 
ten and eleven thousand feet, covered with snow 
and rising, a sheer, solitary peak, out of the plain. 

At one point on the march Idu asked me whether 
I would like to see a curious hole in the ground 
lying only a little way off our line of route. 

We turned aside for a few hundred yards, and, 
on a plain as flat as a billiard-table, with a surface 
coated with hardened clay obviously, at one time, 
the bed of a lake we came upon it. The perfectly 
level, smooth lips of the hole offered no suggestion 
that it had been excavated by human agency. On 
the contrary, it gave the appearance of having 
been punched in the ground by some tremendous 
force. The hole was about one hundred and 
fifty feet long, one hundred and twenty feet 
wide, and about fifty feet deep, with absolutely 
perpendicular sides. 

Idu asked whether I could suggest any explana- 
tion of this formation, and, after examination, I 
admitted I had none to offer, asking him in turn 
whether any tradition was attached to it. 

He replied that the hole had once been only half 
its present size, but twice as deep, and that his 



86 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

grandfather remembered how and when the hole was 
made. 

The old man had told him that, one night when 
he was a youth, something had exploded in the sky 
and fallen to the earth, punching a hole one hundred 
feet deep in the plain. Owing to weather and 
climatic conditions, the sides of this hole had 
gradually fallen in, hence its present width and 
shallowness. 

There can, therefore, be little doubt that an 
enormous meteorite fell here, and that it lies buried 
at the bottom of this hole. Its locality is about 
seven hundred yards from a hill called Gwarko, and 
could easily be found by anyone interested in such 
phenomena. 

This is not the only natural feature which would 
repay a visit from those interested in natural science, 
for, though I am no geologist or scientist myself, I 
was greatly interested in the numerous gorges in 
the vicinity of Kacha, a post in the hills near Robat, 
where, at certain seasons of the year, violent spates 
occur, and the rushing water has so burnished the 
sides of the rocks that they glisten in the sun like 
polished, variegated marble. The sections so made 
show a close mass of fossils, which, apparently, were 
once oysters, centipedes, crabs, etc. 



CHAPTER VI 

A FULL BAG OF PRISONERS 

The march to Kacha The food supplyFlowers in the Wilder- 
ness Galugan Repeated strategy Juma Khan comes in 
The bag: is full The throne of the dancing- maidens 
Landon declines Idu's doubts Suspicions aroused Halil 
Khan closes up Kacha, oaths, and thumb-marks The 
Chiefs depart Bad news. 

THE march from Khwash to Kacha was over 
constantly ascending ground, and the higher the 
altitude reached the more abundant did the vegeta- 
tion become. 

On the third day I noticed that a great many of 
the Raiders were carrying bunches of green stuff 
under their arms, plucked along the line of march, 
and I asked Idu what they were going to do with it. 

He replied that they would eat it raw, and supple- 
mented this information with the further news that, 
beyond a few dried dates, the surrendered Raiders 
had brought hardly any rations with them. 
Consequently, and very shortly, I should be called 
upon to feed them. This was an alarming prospect. 
We had left a generous supply of food behind for 
the garrison of Khwash, thus reducing our own 

87 



88 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

rations to a bare sufficiency for the considerable 
distance to be covered. 

I instructed Idu to ward off the evil day as long 
as possible, but told him that, in the last extremity, 
our food supplies would, of course, be fairly and 
evenly shared with the Sarhadis. 

At this stage in the march we reached a height of 
some seven thousand feet, and I was struck with the 
beauty of the scene. Around us the slopes were 
covered with a profusion of flowers of every hue, 
forming, so it seemed, a vast, variegated carpet. 
Although I know nothing whatever of flowers from 
a botanical point of view the beauty of many of them 
struck me so much that, later in the year, I 'collected 
some of the seeds and preserved them carefully 
with the idea of home cultivation. These seeds 
remained with me in all my wanderings, but, unfor- 
tunately, on my journey home the pocket-book 
containing them was lost. 

One plant in particular, the asefcetida (locally 
known as hing), is very striking, and most effective 
in the distance. The lower leaves are very big, and 
the plant throws up a tall, yellow shoot, two or 
three feet high, topped by a cluster of the most 
brilliant flowers of the same colour. This plant is 
much valued by the Baluchis, and I am told that 
large quantities are exported from this district to 
India. 

We were lucky in finding cool camping places on 
the third and fourth nights of the march. On the 



A FULL BAG OF PRISONERS 89 

fifth we commenced our last march on the plain to 
Galugari, the territory belonging to the Ismailzais 
under their leader, Juma Khan. 

Galugan is like Kamalabad, a district only popu- 
lated during certain seasons of the year, when the 
Ismailzais make a regular encampment there, live 
in jugis, and settle down for a time to the cultivation 
of their crops. The place is well watered, with a 
very fertile soil capable of bearing magnificent crops 
of wheat and barley. 

As we approached the camping ground of Galugan 
our scouts came back to inform us that Juma Khan 
had deserted Galugan, and had gone, with all his 
tribe, into the high hills surrounding the place. He 
had heard of the defeat of Jiand at Koh-i-taftan, of 
his subsequent surrender, and of the capture ;of 
Khwash. He had also seen our forces approaching, 
and had no hope of success if he had remained to 
offer battle. 

As a matter of fact we really did present quite an 
imposing appearance by this time. Our numbers 
had been augmented by small groups of Jiand's and 
Halil Khan's men who had joined us at intervals all 
along the route. 

We accordingly marched, without any opposition, 
into Galugan, and found it, as reported, absolutely 
deserted, with the exception of one old woman who 
had utterly refused to desert her crops, and was 
eventually discovered hiding in a .field. 

As the threat of destruction to his crops had been 



90 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

so successful with Jiand we determined to try 
the same threat on Juma Khan. Accordingly, 
messengers were sent summoning him to surrender 
at once, with all his force, under a similar penalty. 
I told the messengers to impress upon him the fact 
that he and his tribe were now quite isolated, that 
the Gamshadzais and Yarmahommedzais had 
surrendered, but that they, and their leaders, had 
been well and generously treated, their lives and 
crops spared, and that the same generous treatment 
would be accorded to him if he delivered himself 
up without delay. 

Very shortly he sent back a message to say that 
he realised he was in a hopeless position, and was 
quite prepared to surrender unconditionally. He also 
offered to restore all the plunder he had taken in the 
direction of Nasaratabad-sippi. But he asked for a 
definite guarantee that his life would be spared. 

I sent back word that he need have no fear on 
that score. My mission was to make him see the 
error of his ways and to re-establish good relations 
between his tribe and the British ; also, that he would 
be treated exactly as I had treated Jiand and Halil 
Khan. 

That same evening he came into camp, with some 
thirty of his followers as a body-guard, and formally 
surrendered. 

He was a somewhat different type from both Jiand 
and Halil Khan. Juma Khan was of medium 
height, and slightly built. He had a very pleasing, 






A FULL BAG OF PRISONERS 91 

well-cut, high-bred face, always full of smiles and 
laughter, as though life were one huge joke. 

Idu, who, as I have already said, knew all about 
the Sarhadi Chiefs and their characteristic points, 
said to me after I had interviewed Juma Khan, " If 
Juma Khan gives you his oath on the Koran he will 
keep it. He is well known throughout the Sarhad 
as a man who abides by his word. Any promise, 
therefore, that he makes to you he will faithfully 
keep." 

I was especially glad that Juma Khan had come 
into line, and for a very good reason. The easiest 
route for German emissaries into Afghanistan lay 
through his territory. On all routes across Persia 
water-supply is one of the most vital considerations, 
the consequence being that many an otherwise 
convenient road had had to be abandoned owing to 
lack of water. Now the stream which runs from 
Galugan, piercing the hills and running into the 
Persian district of Narmashir, offers an excellent 
supply, so making this route an easy one for German 
agents if not opposed by Juma Khan, But with 
Juma Khan on our side it would be practically 
impossible for such to get through the Sarhad. It 
was, therefore, my policy to treat him with special 
consideration. To be plain, I wished him, though 
an unwilling captive, to be a real convert to our 
interests. 

All the Sarhadi Chiefs were now prisoners, but the 
problem arose as to the best and safest method of 



92 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

transporting them, and all their followers, back to 
Kacha, fully eighty miles distant. Our own food 
supplies were already running very short, yet I was 
obliged to promise the Raiders a fair and equal 
share of these. We were, therefore, immediately 
obliged to go on half rations. 

To add to our troubles the weather was beginning 
to get very hot on these plains, and I well knew that, 
at any rate on some days owing to water difficulties 
it would be necessary to make long marches. 

The first march out of Galugan proved to be 
heavy uphill work, our route lying up a steady, steep 
incline. But at night we found a suitable camping 
ground by the side of a stream. Here again the 
ground was covered by a mass of beautiful flowers. 
The following day we descended to the Duzd-ab 
plain, and had only crossed some five miles of it 
when a hill of such extraordinary appearance came 
into view that Landon and I simultaneously 
exclaimed. This looked for all the world like a 
huge mushroom with flattened dome and very thick 
stem obviously a hill whose upper part was of a 
harder formation than the lower, thus resisting with 
better success the attacks of time and weather. 

Idu cantered up on his pony and pointed to the 
hill with pride. " That, Sahib," he said, " is called 
the Takht-i-Jinikan " (throne of the dancing 
maidens). 

" Why was it given that name ? " I asked. " Do 
maidens live there alone ? " 



A FULL BAG OF PRISONERS 93 

Idu grinned. " Listen, Sahib, and I will tell you 
the story of the Takht-i-Jinikan. On beautiful 
moonlight nights immortal maidens are supposed to 
dance on the flat top of this hill. If a young man 
is really very good he may climb to the top of the 
hill alone, while they are dancing, in the hope of 
obtaining a bride. But he must be very good to be 
sufficiently worthy to win the love of one of these 
immortal maidens. If he succeeds she becomes 
mortal, and they are married." 

I asked Idu if he had met anyone who had 
obtained an immortal bride. 

Idu smiled. " I fear there is no young man in the 
Sarhad good enough to be worthy of the honour! " 

I persuaded Landon, who was unmarried, to climb 
the hill with me but not by moonlight! On our 
return Idu asked Major Landon if he had seen the 
Jinikan. 

Landon replied regretfully that he had not, but 
was sure it was because he had not been able 
to ascend the hill by moonlight certainly not 
because he was not good enough. He, however, 
had seen some very large footprints, which he 
sincerely trusted, for the sake of the beauty of 
the legend, did not belong to these immortal 
damsels ! 

But what pleased me more than the romantic hill 
was the discovery of a stream only a short distance 
away. This afforded not only an unexpectedly good 
supply of water, but, from a quantity of dry bushes 



94 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

along its banks, an abundance of fire wood for 
cooking. 

On each day of the march we held counsel with 
the Sarhadis and soon became on friendly terms 
with them. We found them a very interesting 
crowd, full of adventure and the joy of life. They 
informed me that, as they had now thrown in their 
lot with me, they were quite ready to take part in 
any raid with me, if only I would organise one. 
Nor did the objective matter. Persia, Afghanistan, 
or, in fact, anywhere where there might be excite- 
ment and adventurous doings. So friendly, indeed, 
were we all that I began to think my work, and the 
whole object for which I had been sent to the 
Sarhad, accomplished. 

But Idu was never optimistic on the subject. He 
invariably shook his head, and warned me, in and 
out of season, against Halil Khan and Jiand. He, 
at last, so infected me with his own anxiety, that I 
began to wonder whether the two Chiefs might not 
take it into their heads to wipe out our little force 
one night. They could have done this with the 
utmost ease. This change of mind induced me at 
last to make my camp dispositions with redoubled 
care. The Raiders were given to understand that 
they must take part in organising the camp against 
some unknown foe who might make them, as well 
as myself, an object of attack. 

My suspicions were further aroused by the minute 
way in which they questioned me as to the 



A FULL BAG OF PRISONERS 95 

individuality of that foe, and the direction from 
which it would be possible for him to come. I told 
them that habit in soldiers becomes second nature ; 
that it was a soldier's habit to take the utmost pre- 
caution in self-defence, and that neglected precaution 
might always bring possible disaster. But I could 
see that they accepted the explanation with doubt, 
and obviously disbelieved in my mythical foe. 

The third day's march across the Duzd-ab valley 
was a very trying one. We had to make a double 
march, for our food supplies were almost exhausted, 
and it was obviously imperative to reach Kacha as 
soon as possible. It must be remembered, too, that 
we had been on half rations since leaving Galugan, 
and already there had been much grousing amongst 
the whole force. 

That night we encamped at the base of a hill 
which Jiand proudly announced as " Koh-i-Jiand- 
siah," or the " Hill of Black Jiand." I asked him 
who Black Jiand might be, and he replied that his 
father's name was Jiand, though he was not black, 
and that the hill had been named after him. The 
old fellow was obviously proud of the honour which 
had been conferred on his father. 

Here Landon and I spent an anxious night, for 
both Idu and the Sarhad-dar were very nervous and 
depressed. The latter said that a rumour had got 
about amongst the Sarhadis that all my promises 
and protestations to them were false, and that I was 
really leading them into a trap at Kacha, where they 



96 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

were all to be killed. Consequently, the idea had 
been discussed as to whether it might not be safer, 
and wiser, to attack our small force, overwhelm us 
during the night, and escape before daybreak. 

As may be imagined, the prospect was scarcely a 
pleasant one, but we could take no stricter precau- 
tions than had already be,en done, and our sole 
remaining action now was to show an absolutely 
untroubled and confident front to men who, though 
nominally our prisoners, held us in the hollow of 
their hands. In other words to " trust to luck." 

Fortunately for us the Raiders, who still could 
not make head or tail of the real situation, 
determined on a pacific course, and the night passed 
without incident. So luck stood with us, and on 
the following morning we were early astir for the 
last march south of Kacha. 

It was evident that th,e situation had now become 
one of the " touch and go " order, so I determined to 
emphasise my supposed confidence in the Raiders, 
by this means restoring theirs, and convincing them 
that there was no trap. I, therefore, gave orders 
that none of them were to march in advance, but in 
the rear, as I wished to have a clear view of my 
covering troops. 

As we drew in towards Kacha I noticed that Halil 
Khan and his band gathered as close in behind me 
as possible, and I learned afterwards that he had 
said, " If we are to be led into a trap I will see to it 
that the General Sahib does not escape me." 



A FULL BAG OF PRISONERS 97 

I had already given orders that, the instant we 
entered Kacha, the advance guard of infantry, also 
the cavalry and guns, were to march straight off 
to their respective barracks. This order I learned 
afterwards greatly relieved the anxiety of the Sar- 
hadis, who had actually talked themselves into an 
honest belief of the existence of a trap. They 
themselves encamped in the vicinity of the British 
Political Officer's house. He himself was absent at 
that date. Ample food supplies were dealt out to 
them. Now that our lines of communication were 
clear of the Raiders food was coming through again 
from India. 

For the moment all need for anxiety seemed at 
an end. 

On the ist of May I summoned a Durbar, to be 
held, on the following day, close to the Political 
Officer's house. Idu was not present, for he had 
asked for leave to go to Robat on important personal 
business. I suspected this important business was 
a visit to one of his numerous wives, though the 
rascal always disclaimed the suggestion that his 
absences ever had anything to do with a woman. 

The Durbar was an impressive affair. Several 
bags of money were brought from the Government 
Treasury by the Sarhad-dar and placed at my feet. 
These were to be given to the Chiefs as rewards for 
future good conduct. After delivering an address 
more or less a repetition of what I had said at 
Khwash as to the folly of deserting the British for 

G 



98 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

the Germans I called on the Chiefs to sign an 
agreement whereby they handed their country over 
to the Sirkar, and promised in future to be loyal to 
the Indian Government. Further than this, and 
under this agreement, they were to give timely 
warning of the approach of German agents from any 
direction. 

As most of the Raiders could not write, their 
thumb-marks were duly impressed on an imposing 
looking document produced by the Sarhad-dar, and 
the Chiefs swore on the Koran to abide by the 
agreement. They were then handed the money 
rewards promised them, Jiand receiving the largest 
amount two thousand rupees. 

I then announced to them that they were all free 
to return to their homes, and that if ever any of 
them needed a friend, or would like me to adjudicate 
between them on any local quarrel, they were at 
liberty to call upon me for the purpose. 

They professed themselves as very grateful for 
all that had been given them ; admitted they had 
been treated generously, and promised, on oath, that 
there should be no more trouble in the Sarhad, nor 
should any German or German agent be permitted 
to pass through their territories. 

Thus, when they left for their homes, on the 
morning of May 3rd, all parties were, apparently, 
on excellent terms. 

I wrote a despatch to headquarters at Simla, 
giving a short account of the expedition and its 



A FULL BAG OF PRISONERS 99 

results, at the same time bringing forward the 
names of various officers, and other ranks, for good 
work done. I also mentioned the fact that I did 
not know what to do in regard to the traffic in slaves. 

That evening Idu returned. He came straight 
to my room and told me I had acted unwisely in 
disregarding his repeated warnings as to the unreli- 
ability of Jiand and Halil Khan. He further added 
that some of his own chosen men, who had been 
scouting around and picking up all possible informa- 
tion, had met him, on his return to Kacha, and had 
given him the following authentic and disquieting 
news. It was to the effect that, hardly had Jiand 
got out of Kacha, that morning, with promises of 
devotion and loyalty still hot upon his lips, than 
he had halted and called a meeting of the Raider 
Chiefs, urging them to repudiate their oaths, to 
collect all their fighting men as quickly as possible, 
attack and take Khwash, and then to turn their 
attention to my force, which he now openly said he 
knew to be a contemptibly small one. 

This was bad news indeed. We naturally knew 
that Khwash could be captured in a few minutes. 
There were only five men there. We were also 
quite conscious of the fact that we could be wiped 
out in less than the same time if attacked in any 
force. 

But the bad was leavened by the good, for the 
same report told us that Juma Khan had resolutely 
and absolutely refused to fall in with Jiand's plans. 



100 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

He was also reported to have said that the General 
Sahib had kept every promise made to them, had 
spared their lives and crops when he could have 
destroyed them, had treated them, from the com- 
mencement of hostilities, as honourable foes, and 
later as friends, and had finally given them consider- 
able sums of money. He had never broken his 
word, and he did not intend to begin doing so now. 
Therefore, he was to be counted out of any plans of 
treachery which Jiand might be meditating. Upon 
which expression of opinion he had ridden off to his 
own country with his following. 

But, even with Juma Khan eliminated, the situa- 
tion was serious enough, for I saw no chance of 
obtaining reinforcements from any quarter in time 
to prevent a disaster. However, it was no use 
crying over spilt milk. Things must be faced as 
they were. 

After all, as I pointed out to Idu, Jiand could not 
do the impossible. He and Halil Khan could not 
collect their scattered men in a moment. The one 
thing left for us to do was to set off on the morrow, 
march back to Khwash, endeavour to reach it before 
Jiand, and organise our defence against his coming. 

I have often since been blamed for an apparent 
foolhardiness in trusting the Raiders sufficiently to 
let them go. But it must be remembered that I had 
not come out to fight the Raiders unless events 
made it absolutely necessary to do so but, rather, 
to make friends with them and to keep the Germans, 



A FULL BAG OF PRISONERS 101 

or their agents, from coming through their country. 
Moreover, the force at my disposal was very small 
indeed, and quite insufficient to keep these Raiders 
in check when once the bluff was called. In other 
words, I should soon lose the game if I persisted 
in treating them as enemies. 

It must be understood, too, that the Sarhad was 
only the Southern portion of my command, and 
that rumours were constantly coming in that 
Germans, who had failed to get through into 
Afghanistan via the South, were not only moving 
North towards Birjand, but were trying to cross 
the border in that direction. 

I knew, also, that it would soon be necessary to 
move North in order to induce the Russians to 
keep a more careful guard than they had been doing 
in the district North of Birjand, a district within 
their sphere of influence in Persia. 

Nor must it be supposed that I had not quite 
realised, before I let the Raiders go, that I had not 
obtained all the safeguards I could have wished. 
But I did not then, nor do I now, see that I had 
any other alternative. 

In any case I had gained one very definite 
advantage. I had won over Juma Khan to our 
side; and it was through his territory that the 
Germans would first have to pass in order to get 
through the Sarhad. 

But, though Juma Khan had already given 
a practical example of his determination to be loyal 



102 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

to his oath, I recognised that he would be bolstered 
up in his loyalty if he felt there was apparent some 
show of strength on our side. The loss of Khwash 
to Jiand would, therefore, be a terrible confession 
of weakness. 

Landon and the Sarhad-dar fully concurred with 
me that the one and only wise plan to follow would 
be to march at daybreak with all the forces we 
could command, and endeavour, by a series of 
forced marches, to reach and enter Khwash before 
Jiand could take it. 




CHAPTER VII 

THE RACE FOR KHWASH 

Plans and routes Car versus leg's An equestrian interlude 
The trap in the gorge, More digging- Rendezvous Mrs 
Idu and gastronomy A reinforcement A message to 
Landon Izzat's men Idu's romance A " British Bull- 
dog " The car abandoned. 

TIME was obviously the chief factor to be reckoned 
with for any hope of ultimate success ; I wondered, 
therefore, whether the car might not be utilised in 
this dash back to Khwash. 

Considering the nature of the ground over which 
we had marched, it seemed rather a mad idea, but 
Idu pounced on it. 

" The very thing, Sahib," he said excitedly. 
' You remember how astonished even I was when 
I first saw it? How much more will it impress 
Jiand's ignorant men! They will think it a new 
sort of devil, and it will be more useful than a dozen 
guns! " 

" I believe Idu is right," Landon said. " Why 
don't you go in the car, whilst I take charge of the 
army?" 

After further details had been discussed, we 
decided to adopt this plan. The car was still at 

103 



104 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

Robat, about twenty-four miles distant, with Allan 
in charge. I, therefore, sent a telegram, and also 
a duplicate message by a sawar on a mari camel, 
telling Allan to provision the car, bring all the spare 
tubes and tyres he possessed, and start early the 
following morning on the track to Saindak, where, 
at a spot to which the sawar would guide him, about 
nine miles out of Kacha, Idu and I would meet him 
on horseback. 

Landon, who would be able to use a far more 
direct route to Khwash than the car could take, was 
to start with the army the same old army of seven- 
teen cavalrymen, four trained infantrymen (it will 
be remembered five had been left in Khwash), sixty- 
five untrained men, with two mountain guns, two 
machine-guns, and six hundred camels. He was to 
endeavour to reach the Raiders' stronghold in seven 
marches. 

Six hundred camels for so small a force would 
seem out of all proportion. But it must be remem- 
bered that transport for provisions, and everything 
else we should need for at least a full month, was 
required ; that we could not depend on keeping open 
any sort of lines of communication ; and that 
whenever a Durbar or meeting was held, all those 
attending it expected to be fed, and well fed. Our 
very existence depended on an ample supply of food. 
Further, the presence of so many camels helped to 
uphold the game of bluff it was still necessary to 
play, and a distant view of these six hundred camels 



THE RACE FOR KHWASH 105 

gave an appearance of numbers out of all proportion 
to our real fighting strength. 

Landon's route would take him by a com- 
paratively short cut, though, even by this over the 
western slopes of the Koh-i-taftan he could not 
hope to accomplish the march in less than seven 
days. 

Very early in the morning Idu and I rode off on 
a couple of small ponies provided by the former, and 
he assured me that it was only a very special breed 
of pony that could hope to cope with the difficulties 
of the nine hilly miles lying between us and the 
meeting-place arranged with Allan and the car. 

Idu was fully justified in his criticism of the track 
we had to follow, for it grew steeper and narrower 
as we proceeded, until, at last, we were negotiating 
a mere cleft in the hill, with our elbows almost 
touching the rocky sides. 

Suddenly, my pony, who had probably been 
deciding that he had had enough of it, stopped dead, 
quivered all over and sat down! Idu, who was 
immediately in front, turned round to see what had 
happened, and his pony promptly rolled backwards 
on the top of us. 

I got clear as well as I could for laughing, helped 
Idu who was very badly shaken to extricate 
himself from the ponies, and then, between us, got 
the ponies out of the crevasse into which they had 
managed to jam themselves. This took some time, 
and when we got them up we found the poor beasts 



106 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

so frightened that we had to walk them the greater 
part of the way. 

At eleven o'clock, perspiring from every pore, we 
reached the rendezvous arranged, and to our great 
relief found Allan waiting, stolid, imperturbable, 
reliable as ever, with the car in spick-and-span 
order. Poor Allan little knew what he was in for. 
He had, of course, seen nothing of our recent little 
campaign, as he had remained at Robat during the 
past few weeks. He was, therefore, quite delighted 
at the prospect of a little activity. 

We gave our ponies to the camel sawars who had 
acted as guides to Allan, with instructions to take 
them back to Kacha, so Idu and I took our places, 
thankful to be in the car once more, and set off on 
our journey South. 

We soon passed through Saindak, and, as the 
going was not quite as bad on that first day as we 
had expected, we got farther than we had hoped, 
reaching a halting place called Jujak, where there 
was an old ruined sarai (rest-house) and a good 
spring. Here we slept out in the open, and set off 
early on the following morning. Idu was greatly 
impressed with the powers of the car, and began to 
think it could go anywhere, scale any height, and 
slip through any opening, however narrow. This 
was flattering to the Overland, but it led us into 
future difficulties from which only great good luck 
extricated us. 

We had intended going via Mirjawa, but Idu 



THE RACE FOR KHWASH 107 

pointed out that there was a much shorter way 
through the hills, which, he was quite certain, the 
car could manage. But we were to prove once 
more that the longest way round may often be the 
shortest way home ! 

The car entered the hills by a gorge which rose 
steeply to their summits, and, though we had to get 
out occasionally and push, it really was astonishing 
how well she took the inclines. But it was when 
we descended that our troubles began, for, in doing 
so, we entered another gorge which grew narrower 
and narrower, till, at last, Allan stopped the car 
dead, declaring that we could go no farther. 
And a glance at our route did seem to show that 
we had manoeuvred ourselves into a hopeless 
impasse. 

Ahead the gorge was too narrow to allow of going 
on. Behind it was so steep that the car could not 
back out. On the right we were completely shut 
in by the high steep sides of the gorge, on the 
left it looked as impassable ; whilst it was quite 
impossible to turn! 

There remained nothing for it but to dig a way 
out, so we set to work, and, after working till we 
were wet through, managed somehow to get the car 
through the wall of earth shutting us in on the left, 
and out on to the open hill-side. 

Idu openly expressed his disgust and disappoint- 
ment with the car. He had given her credit for 
being capable of doing anything and going any- 



108 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

where, and this failure to pass through " the eye of 
a needle " diminished his respect for her. 

There was still no direct way down the hill, and 
we had perforce to go many miles out of our course, 
in a long hair-pin loop, to reach anything like decent 
going. No one who has not attempted to take a 
car over trackless hills of rough, broken surface, and 
rilled with blind gorges, can have any idea of the 
difficulties that confronted us here, and during the 
greater part of our journey to Khwash. 

By dint of ceaseless pulling and pushing, and 
digging the car out again and again, we managed to 
reach the rendezvous with Landon before nightfall. 
He marched in a few minutes after we arrived, and 
was as frankly pleased as astonished to see us. He 
had just come through another section of those hills 
himself. He had not, therefore, expected the car 
would get through, and was wondering how on earth 
I should ever rejoin him and the army. So we 
all camped out in the open, grateful for the coolness 
of the evening, for the heat of the day had been 
terrific. 

Before sunrise on the following morning Landon 
marched out, and, as soon as we had lost sight of 
him, Idu, Allan, and myself set off in the car. 

I do not propose to give a detailed account of the 
remainder of our journey. One day was very like 
another, and the bad surface only differed in quality 
and degree. The heat was very great by day, and 
the glare over the sandy wastes and hills almost 



THE RACE FOR KHWASH 109 

blinding. Here and there, especially in the Galugan 
valley, we came across groups of human beings, 
mostly of a low type of humanity, who bolted in 
terror at sight of the car. 

One evening we halted at a settlement of Rekis, 
Idu's own tribe, and received a very warm welcome, 
for one of Idu's wives was amongst his people. The 
rascal always maintained that he had no interest in 
women, but, nevertheless, seemed to me to be a 
very good understudy to the proverbial sailor, for 
he appeared to have a wife in every village and 
encampment. 

This particular Mrs Idu was delighted at the 
unexpected reunion with her husband, and did the 
honours of the camp right royally. Following 
accepted custom, I, first of all, bought a few sheep 
from the Jugi-dwellers, and then presented these 
to them so that they could prepare a feast. Mrs 
Idu, a very unprepossessing-looking, but highly 
amiable lady, acted as hostess, and we all squatted 
round the camp fires while the meat was roasting. 
Allan's face was a picture as he watched the 
tribesmen cook and eat their meat. They hacked 
chunks of flesh from the dead carcasses of the sheep 
with the knives they always carried, spitted them on 
the cleaning rods of their rifles, and roasted them 
over the fire. These they ate voraciously, as though 
very hungry, and, as a matter of fact, food in that 
district is both scarce and monotonous. In any 
case they devoured the meat whilst it was still nearly 



110 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

raw. Even Idu ate his meat half-cooked, maintain- 
ing that it was far more tender in such a state. 

Of course, the car was a source of intense interest 
and excitement. At first the tribesmen were too 
afraid of it to go anywhere near it, but when they 
saw it stand quite still at Allan's orders, and that it 
had no bite, curiosity overcame fear, and, one by 
one, they crept up and nervously touched it. At 
this stage Allan sounded the Claxton, and, with 
shrieks of terror, they all bolted. But Idu, who 
had come over the mountains in it, and, therefore, 
had lost all fear of the monster, felt a devil of a 
fellow, and, with a flourish, assured them it was not 
the roar inside which made it go, and that it would 
do no one any harm. So they came back to it once 
more, and, after some persuasion, were induced to 
sound the Claxton themselves. Once familiar with 
it, they laughed like children each time it barked, 
and I began to wish I had taken the thing off before 
we started. 

After supper Idu prepared my blankets under the 
shelter of a small bush, but, before turning in, I sat 
down on the ground for a final smoke, placing the 
hurricane lamp from the car on the hard smooth 
earth in front of me. 

The light naturally attracted myriads of insects 
of all sorts, many of which I had never seen before, 
and which are, I feel sure, unknown in India. 
Beetles of many sorts swarmed around, both in the 
air and on the ground, whilst a scorpion, the biggest 



THE RACE FOR KHWASH 111 

I have ever seen, darted out from the darkness to 
inspect the light. He was a brown fellow, not an 
iridescent blue, like the Burmese variety, though he 
was quite as big. With his tail curled right over 
his back, and sting ready to strike, he looked a for- 
midable person, and it was comic to watch the haste 
with which all the lesser fry scuttled out of his way, 
and, though he made many attempts to secure his 
supper, I did not see him succeed, so swift were his 
intended victims in escaping from their dreaded 
enemy. 

We were, as usual, up in the morning before day- 
break, and en route before the rest of the camp was 
astir. The going that morning proved fairly good, 
the chief obstacle being huge clumps of a coarse, 
rank grass, which we had to circumvent. 

We had proceeded some distance when Idu, whose 
eyes seemed able not only to see in the dark, but 
through hills and fields of crops, suddenly exclaimed, 
" I can see men in front of us. We had better halt 
while I go forward and find out whether they are 
friends or enemies." 

We stopped the car, for we were now on the 
borders of Jiand's territory, and these men might be 
his followers treating us to an ambush. Idu leapt 
out, and, advancing under cover with the eel-like 
movements all these Raiders possess, reconnoitred 
the position. Obviously all was well, for, shortly 
afterwards, he sauntered back in the open and told 
me that it was quite all right. The men he had seen 



112 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

were Rekis, and they were now coming to speak to 
me. 

Soon afterwards fifteen well-armed, powerful-look- 
ing men on camels ambled up to us, and I was 
grateful indeed to know they were friendlies and not 
Jiand's men. 

They, however, kept at a respectful distance from 
the car, which was still retaining its moral effect, and 
implored me, as the friend and protector of Idu and 
of themselves, to go back. 

" Jiand is advancing on Khwash, Sahib, with a 
big lashkar," they said. " He is probably already 
there, and he will kill you and your followers unless 
you run away on the devil which has brought you 
here." 

I expressed a hope that their information was 
wrong, and that, as it was not certain that Jiand was 
already in Khwash, I still hoped to get there first. 
I pointed out to them that if we could only get into 
Khwash we could, with their help, hold it or even 
bluff Jiand into surrendering without a fight. After 
a little further persuasion by Idu who told them 
what wonders the car could do, and what rewards 
they would gain and after considerable talk among 
themselves they decided to throw in their lot with us. 

' We shall want all the help they can give us with 
the car," Idu whispered to me, " for the ground we 
have to pass through between here and Khwash is 
far worse than anything we have crossed yet." 

I could imagine nothing worse than the first two 



THE RACE FOR KHWASH 113 

days amongst the hills. But Idu knew what he was 
talking about, as we were to discover during the 
next twenty-four hours. 

At this point I sent one of these men back to 
try and find Landon and the army. As Idu had 
sketched out the best route for them to follow he 
was able to tell him the exact direction in which to 
go. In the interval I wrote a message to Landon 
urging him to use his best speed, for it had now 
developed into a race between Jiand and ourselves, 
and telling him that I hoped to reach Khwash myself 
before the following evening. 

I of course knew that nearly everything hung upon 
getting to Khwash first. If Jiand got in with his 
men, he could hold it as long as he chose against 
us, and vice versa. It was clear, too, that the holder 
of Khwash was master of the Sarhad. Moreover, 
I felt a grave responsibility for the lives of the five 
Sepoys I had left there, for they would meet with 
short shrift at Jiand's hands. 

The message dispatched, we set off once more, 
with our new cavalcade in attendance, and had gone 
some twenty or twenty-five miles when Idu again 
asked for a halt as he believed he saw men camped 
in a little nullah straight ahead of us. Were he 
correct they would be Yarmahommedzais, and so our 
enemies, for we were now right in the heart of Jiand's 
territory. 

Allan was, therefore, directed to drive the car into 

the mouth of a nullah close at hand, where the car, 

H 



114 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

and the Rekis with their camels, could be concealed, 
and where we could fill up our water-bottles and the 
radiator, from a small stream that trickled through it. 
The banks of the nullah had been hollowed out by 
the action of the water, so affording a certain amount 
of shade, for which we were very grateful after the 
burning heart of the open sandy plain. 

After rest and a drink Idu went out to reconnoitre, 
and presently returned with a glum face. 

" They are Izzat's men," he said. (Izzat, it will 
be remembered, had been the ringleader in the recent 
raid into Persia, which had resulted in the capture of 
so many women and children). " Izzat is a great 
fighter, and we are in for a scrap." 

" How many men has he with him? " I asked. 

" About eighteen," Idu replied. 

"Only eighteen?" I felt relieved. "Why, 
then we are about equal in numbers, to say nothing of 
the car. If they want a fight they shall have it." 

Idu looked dubious. " In any case it would mean 
the loss of many of my tribe, and we shall want them 
all if we are to hold Khwash. Will the General 
Sahib permit me to go and see if I can persuade 
Izzat not to fight ? " 

Knowing Idu's persuasive qualities I gave a ready 
consent, but warned him to take no personal risks. 
With his great knowledge of the country, and of all 
the Sarhadis with their different peculiarities, he was 
absolutely indispensable to me, and I have no hesita- 
tion in making the admission. Furthermore, I had 



THE RACE FOR KHWASH 115 

conceived a very genuine affection for the man, 
whose utter devotion and loyalty never swerved from 
the moment he joined me. 

" Have no fear, Sahib," he said with a grin. 
" You know the law of our tribes. It is the one law 
we never break." 

Idu then went forward, and, from safe cover, 
shouted out to Izzat, explaining who he was, and 
asking for a safe conduct. This was instantly given. 

I have said before in this narrative, and I proved 
again and again, that whilst the Raiders would break 
every other law and oath, even when given on the 
Koran, the one law they never break is that of 
hospitality. If they promise safe conduct it is 
absolutely observed in letter and spirit. 

Accordingly, Idu went forward boldly, quite 
certain, according to the code of his enemies, that 
his life was safe until he returned to his friends. 

His conversation with Izzat proved a lengthy one. 
Izzat was hard to convince. But, at last, and as 
usual, Idu's wily tongue won the day. When he 
returned it was to tell me that he had persuaded 
Izzat and his men to come along with us, if not as 
friends at any rate not as enemies. 

He gave me a resume of the arguments he had 
used. These were original, even for Idu, with 
whose methods I was beginning to be familiar. The 
conversation must have been something as follows: 

' What are you doing here, Izzat? Your home 
is a long way from here." 



116 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

" I have come to fight the British General, and I 
am in command of a reconnoitring party to report 
to Jiand, who is advancing on Khwash." 

" Do I understand you ? " said Idu. " Do you 
seriously mean that you have come with the intention 
of fighting the General Sahib ? " 

" I do," replied Izzat. 

" Then," said Idu scornfully, " all I can tell you 
is that you will be wiped out in a couple of seconds. 
If you fight, you will prove yourself a liar. The 
General Sahib captured you and could have killed 
you and all your men. Instead he treated you well, 
gave you back your rifles, large sums of money, and 
let you go free. Moreover, you swore on the Koran 
at Kacha that you would never fight against him 
again, and put your thumb-mark on the agreement. 
You are a fine kind of Mahommedan to break your 
oath given on the Koran. Besides, you fool, don't 
you know that the General Sahib has brought a 
wonderful devil with him? Come over here and 
look." 

He led Izzat to a spot whence he could see the car. 

" Do you see," he went on, " that queer thing 
there? And do you see that the front part of it is 
filled with hundreds of little holes? The General 
Sahib has only to press a button and a hail of bullets 
will come out of those holes, and you, and all your 
men, will be killed. He is only waiting till I go 
back. I have come out to try and save your lives. 
If I tell him that you are going to fight he will press 



THE RACE FOR KHWASH 117 

the button, and there will not be one of you left. 
Your only hope is to go and fall at his feet and ask 
him to forgive you." 

Izzat was deeply impressed, and, after consultation 
with his men, told Idu that he would accept his 
advice. If, therefore, he would go back and beg 
the Sahib not to destroy them with his motor-car 
they would follow a few minutes later and surrender ! 

Allan roared with laughter at Idu's explanation of 
the radiator, but after a few moments grew serious. 

" Do you think it's safe to let them come, sir? 
They seem a pretty brutal lot; and when they find 
out that Idu has been spoofing them they may attack 
us, and cut our throats before we can do them much 
damage? " 

" I know, but we'll hang on to Idu's bluff 
about the radiator as long as we can. Besides, we 
are nearly man to man. Remember, the one thing 
to do is to show no sign of fear or doubt of them. 
That impresses them more than anything." 

So Allan and I remained seated in the shade of 
the overhanging bank, whilst Izzat and his men came 
and sat in a circle in front of us. I then proceeded 
to tell Izzat, in very plain language, what I thought 
of him. 

His mind was still visibly working under the 
impression Idu had produced, for he appeared quite 
cowed in his apologies for his conduct. 

After a long dressing-down I thought it advisable 
to make a show of magnanimity, so promised to 



118 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

forgive him on condition that he and his men came 
along with me, and helped me when I needed assist- 
ance with the car. I explained that, though it was 
a devil, yet the sand sometimes obstructed it and 
then it needed human help. 

Izzat promised anything and everything I asked, 
even volunteering to fight for me if I wanted him. 

This latter promise, however, I utterly discounted. 
It was not in the least likely that he would fight 
against his own tribe, and I knew that we should 
have to be perpetually on the look-out for treachery, 
especially until Landon and his little force arrived. 

But I had got out of Izzat, whilst still uncertain 
of his fate, the information that Jiand's preparations 
for the taking of Khwash had been quicker than I 
had expected ; also that he was already on the march 
in full force, and would surely reach Khwash the 
following day. 

This meant that we had not a moment to lose. 
I had hoped that by arriving on the following evening 
I should be in time. But now we must make a dash 
for it, and, by hook or by crook, arrive by the 
morning. 

Evening was already approaching, but instead of 
camping for the night as I had intended, and getting 
by daylight through the hills lying between us and 
the valley in which Khwash stood, it would now be 
necessary to negotiate them by night. 

Allan looked dubious when I told him of my 
decision. 



THE RACE FOR KHWASH 119 

" I can't guarantee to get the car through, sir," 
he said. " Idu says these hills are far worse than 
the hills near Ladis, and you know what a job we 
had getting through them by daylight. But I'll do 
my best." 

And if ever a man did his best Allan did his right 
nobly that night. 

A whole series of hills, without any tracks over 
them, intersected with nullahs, valleys rilled with 
sand-drifts, and marshy tracts, had to be negotiated 
in the darkness, lighted only by the stars and the 
car's lamps. 

On the lower slopes we got stuck again and again 
in the narrow steep-sided nullahs, and it took the 
combined efforts of the Rekis, Izzat's men and a 
stout rope, always carried on the car, to drag her 
out. Over and over again it seemed as though we 
must give up the attempt and wait for daylight. But 
Allan came of the right stock. He also knew well 
how vitally important for British prestige through- 
out the Sarhad it was to be first in Khwash, and so 
confirm our supremacy there. 

So Allan stuck to his job, muttering repeatedly, 
when the difficulties seemed insuperable, " I'm a 
British bull-dog, sir, and I am not going to be beat." 

This expression of Allan's afterwards became a 
saying amongst our men when any difficulty arose. 

But if Allan wasn't beaten the car very nearly was 
at one point when negotiating the worst bit of ground 
I have ever passed over in my life for there was no 



120 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

going round it. The strata here were up-ended, and 
consisted of alternate layers of shale and quartz. 
Weathering had done its work more easily on the 
shale, hence the quartz, which was much thinner 
than the shale, projected upwards in great dagger- 
like points in every direction, and over a long 
distance. 

Of course tyres and tubes were cut to ribbons in a 
few minutes, and, as it would have been futile to 
replace them, the car was literally dragged over the 
ground on her rims. 

As may be imagined, when we had left this awful 
bit of ground behind, my poor car was in a pitiable 
condition. Luckily, Allan had plenty of spare 
tubes and four fresh tyres. With these adjusted, 
we started again, but the ground was still so bad 
that every mile or so we were badly punctured, and 
tubes had to be replaced or patched. It must be 
understood, too, that the heat was intense, even at 
night time. I can safely say that that one night's 
journey was the very worst I have ever experienced 
in any part of the world. 

We were all utterly exhausted long before day- 
break, and, every now and again, despite our 
desperate anxiety, eyelids closed and heads nodded. 
As for Allan, sturdy bull-dog though he was, nature 
was too strong for him. 

Just as dawn broke his heavy eyelids closed for a 
second as he sat at the wheel. But that second 
proved fatal. The car swerved a fraction from the 



THE RACE FOR KHWASH 121 

course we had been following by the light of the 
lamps, and, in an instant, it was over the edge of 
the track and firmly embedded in a sandy nullah-bed. 

A few minutes later the sun rose over the plain 
below us, lighting up the walls of Khwash, a bare 
five miles away. 

Allan was in despair at the position of affairs and 
cursed himself for his momentary relaxation. But 
the damage had been done, and, as we knew by 
experience how long it would take to extricate the 
car, we decided to abandon it and press forward to 
Khwash with all speed. 

I invited myself on to Izzat's own camel, as it 
looked the most comfortable ! Allan was induced to 
get on to another, and Idu invited himself on to the 
next best-looking animal. 

I ordered Izzat to ride close beside me, for I did 
not trust him for a moment, more especially since the 
failure of the car, whose first impression had been so 
satisfactory. And then, as fast as we could urge 
the animals, we ambled on towards our " Mecca," 
with the question ever before us, " shall we be in 
time or has Jiand forestalled us? " 



CHAPTER VIII 

KHWASH AND THE SECOND SURRENDER 

Doubts dispelled Organisation for defence Idu's " Exiat " 
And its result Jiand arrives Idu's second visit The 
Sarhad-dar arrives Landon at last Jiand's visit of 
ceremony The Gul-Bibi Shah Sawar's treachery We call 
on the " Rose Lady " A carpet and the Sarhad-dar's 
advice Another Durbar Returned loot Temporary peace. 

As we approached the fort, still in doubt as to 
whether Jiand occupied it or not, Allan turned round 
on his camel and asked, " Which way shall we run, 
sir, if we have to run? " 

I laughed, though I could not help approving his 
foresight. " There's no more running, Allan. If 
Jiand is not in Khwash, all will be well. If he is 
well, you can take it from me, the game's up. 
There'll be no running for any of us." 

We were now near enough to see a man standing 
on the top of one of the towers. Was he one of the 
men I had left, or a Yarmahommedzai ? A few 
minutes later we could distinguish his uniform. 

We were in time! We should be first into 
Khwash after all! 

In my joy I took off my helmet and waved it to 
show the man I was not one of the enemy, for he 

122 



THE SECOND SURRENDER 128 

might easily have mistaken us, seeing that we were 
all mounted on camels. He paused a moment, 
then, recognising the signal, tore down from the 
tower, quitted the walls and rushed out to meet us, 
nearly beside himself with excitement and relief. 

" You are only just in time, Sahib," he said. 
" Shah Sawar has already arrived with a large force 
and is encamped close by. We have been expecting 
him to attack all the morning. Come quickly into 
the fort, or, even now, you may be too late." 

We needed no second bidding, but, urging the 
camels forward, pressed on, and were soon all 
safely contained within strong mud walls. 

Without a moment's delay the place was organised 
for defence. This was done as well as it was 
possible to do, pending the arrival of Landon with 
his force. 

The five infantrymen till now constituting the 
garrison were put in the highest tourelle, where I 
also took up my quarters. From this vantage- 
point I not only had the best view of the whole 
plain but could command every inch of the fort's 
interior. Idu's men manned the three remaining 
tourelles, whilst Izzat's band were placed, all 
together, in the centre of the Square, where a 
watchful eye could be kept on them. Izzat himself 
I kept close by my side, for Idu, who knew him too 
well to trust him a yard, advised me to keep a close 
personal watch on him. 

The place was now as secure as our limited 



124 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

numbers could make it, and no more could be done 
but await developments. 

Idu, who had never left my side, now asked 
permission to leave the fort for the purpose of 
questioning the Khwashis outside the walls. He 
also asked for some money with which to bribe them. 

" A very little will open their mouths, Sahib," he 
he said persuasively. " And they will surely know 
all about the movements of Shah Sawar and of 
Jiand." 

As no enemy had yet appeared in sight I gave 
him leave to go, and all the money I had in my 
pocket. 

On his return he informed me that he had learned 
exactly where Shah Sawar and his men were 
encamped, and proposed that he should go out and 
confer with him. 

At first I refused point-blank. Idu could not 
go on bearing a charmed life, and Shah Sawar was 
a treacherous scoundrel. I pointed out that even 
if Shah Sawar did not kill him he might take and 
keep him prisoner, and I could not possibly do 
without him. His loss would be irreparable. 

Idu was obviously pleased and flattered at my 
appreciation of him, but persisted that his was the 
wiser plan. 

" You have seen, again and again, Sahib, that 
what I have told you is always true. No Sarhadi 
will break his oath of safe conduct to an enemy." 

" I know," I replied. " But you have not got 



THE SECOND SURRENDER 125 

that promise from Shah Sawar, and without it I will 
not let you go." 

Idu, who had the utmost faith in his own powers 
of persuasion, was not to be done. He argued that 
it would be easy enough to bribe one of the 
Khwashis, encamped outside, to go over to Shah 
Sawar and get the necessary safe conduct. 

At last, and with great reluctance, I consented, 
provided Shah Sawar sent every assurance and 
guarantee that there would be no treachery if Idu 
went as an emissary. 

In due course these assurances arrived. I had, 
therefore, to keep my word to Idu, and give my 
consent, though, even then, I did not trust Shah 
Sawar. However, once again Idu's confidence in 
that one, all-sacred law of hospitality was justified. 

From my tower I watched him start, but he was 
very quickly lost to view amongst the sand dunes 
and fields with their tall-grown crops which lay 
between the fort and Shah Sawar's camp, some three 
miles distant. 

He was away something like three hours, and I 
was beginning to get desperately anxious, when, to 
my great relief, I saw him ambling back on his Mari. 

He was highly pleased with the success of his 
mission, and gave me a full and detailed account of 
his meeting with Shah Sawar. As usual he had 
taken a high tone, and, on arriving at the camp, had 
immediately and scornfully approached the Chief. 

" So I see you are about to make a fool of your- 



126 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

self again. But what do you think you are going 
to do? The General Sahib is in Khwash waiting 
for you! " 

At first Shah Sawar refused to believe this, saying 
that it was impossible to have got there from Kacha 
in the time. It was evident that the Khwashi sent 
as a messenger had faithfully kept the oath Idu had 
exacted from him, i.e., that he would give Shah 
Sawar no indication whatever of my presence, or 
any reason for Idu's request for a safe conduct to 
his camp. 

But when Idu persisted that, possible or not, I was 
there with a considerable force, and that a large army 
was approaching to reinforce me, and would be in 
Khwash at any minute, Shah Sawar asked how on 
earth it had been done. He well knew the country 
lying between Kacha and Khwash, and he could 
not believe the distance had been covered since he 
himself had seen the General Sahib in Kacha. 

Idu replied that it was nevertheless true, and that 
he had come in a motor-car, also that he, Idu, had 
come in it too! 

' What is a motor-car? " asked Shah Sawar, " and 
how could it come over the hills? " 

" A motor-car," replied Idu (this is his own 
account), " is an infernal machine which climbs any 
hill as fast as you like. It can spread bullets in 
every direction. Neither you nor anyone else has 
the slightest chance if you try to fight against it." 

It appears that Shah-Sawar did not know whether 



THE SECOND SURRENDER 127 

to believe or disbelieve Idu's strange statements, 
so produced a Koran which all Sarhadis carry 
concealed somewhere under their robes. 

" Will you swear on the Koran that the General 
Sahib is in Khwash, and that he really came over the 
hills in this strange thing which you call a motor-car, 
also that this motor-car is at Khwash? " 

Idu grinned when he told me that he had sworn 
to all these facts. " Of course I knew, Sahib, that 
we had left the motor-car away up in the sandhills, 
but I know how you loved it, and I guessed that 
you would have sent parties of Khwashi to fetch 
it in." 

This is exactly what I had done under Allan's 
guidance, for he had been heartbroken at the thought 
of leaving the car to become derelict. She had 
therefore been dragged out by the docile Khwashis, 
and had only a short time before been brought 
triumphantly into the fort. 

' Well, is Shah Sawar coming to attack us? " 
I queried. 

" No, Sahib. He is coming, it is true, but when 
he comes, he will speak fair, he will pretend that 
he never meant to fight against you, but that he 
only came out with his men to do you honour! " 

So in due course Shah Sawar arrived, and when 
Idu brought me word that he was approaching, I 
went outside the fort to meet him. I had not the 
slightest desire that he should see how few men were 
inside the walls, neither did I wish him to have the 



128 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

chance of speech with any of Izzat's men. He was 
received with all the dignity I could muster, and I 
outwardly accepted his assurance that he had only 
come on a friendly mission, in fact for the purpose 
of doing me honour. I told him, however, that for 
the present he must remain with me as my prisoner 
or guest anyhow until his over-lord, Jiand, had 
arrived and vouched for his permanent good conduct. 
I then asked him casually when he expected Jiand 
to arrive. 

He replied that the old Chief would be outside the 
walls of Khwash that evening, and that he was then 
only a very few miles distant. 

I then dismissed Shah Sawar under escort, and 
ordered Idu to select one of his trustiest men. This 
man I told to choose the swiftest camel in the place, 
to set off at once, find our approaching force, and 
give a letter to Major Landon. In this letter I 
asked Landon to send on the cavalry at once, at 
whatever time the message reached him, as they 
must, without fail, be in the fort that night or early 
next morning if the situation was to be saved. The 
infantry and supply camels must follow as soon after 
as possible without the protection of the cavalry. 

These orders were sent because I knew perfectly 
well that, at any moment, our true strength, or rather 
our weakness, might be betrayed by some ignorant 
Khwashi, or worse still, by some unsuspected traitor 
within the walls. It does not need much imagination 
to understand that if Jiand had got to know the truth 



THE SECOND SURRENDER 129 

before reinforcements could reach us, he and Shah 
Sawar's men combined, would have been able to 
take the fort in a very short time. 

Just at nightfall, to our dismay, we learned that 
Jiand himself, with a large following, had arrived in 
the immediate neighbourhood, had camped close at 
hand, and was preparing to attack us at once. 

Once again Idu volunteered to do a conjuring 
trick. It was a race now against time. If Landon 
could reach us during the night we could snap our 
fingers at Jiand. If he failed, well we were done. 
To gain time, even a few hours, meant everything. 

So having, as usual, obtained the promise of safe 
conduct, Idu went out to visit Jiand, and to 
endeavour once more to play the great game of bluff. 

But when he returned he seemed very doubtful as 
to the success of his mission. He told Jiand that I 
was already in Khwash, having arrived by motor- 
car, on whose supernatural powers he enlarged once 
more; also that my whole army was in Khwash, 
having come in motor-cars, which were quite wonder- 
ful, though not so wonderful as mine (Idu's powers 
of imagination were on the up grade!). Jiand was, 
moreover, acquainted with the fact that Shah Sawar 
had already seen the folly of attempting to fight, and 
had paid me a visit of ceremony and of submission. 
Idu went on to say that I had heard of his treachery, 
and the fact that he was marching towards Khwash 
to attack me there ; also that I was in a towering rage 
about it, and was fully prepared for him. His urgent 



130 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

advice to him (Jiand) was that he should present 
himself at the fort at eleven o'clock the following 
morning, make his profound apologies to the General 
Sahib, and that, meanwhile, he would himself plead 
with the General not to be too severe with the Chief 
when he came to surrender! 

" Do you think he'll wait till then ? " I asked. 

" I don't know, Sahib," Idu replied. And for 
once his cheery good spirits seemed to have deserted 
him. " I am not at all sure that Jiand believed a 
word I said. If he did not he will attack us to-night, 
and " he stopped significantly. 

We all understood. Here were we, a mere 
handful of men, in that old mud fort (which meant so 
much to both sides) with two large enemy camps out- 
side. Either of them, if they once learned the truth, 
could obliterate us in a few hours. Combined, our 
chances would not be given even that amount of rope. 

It was a desperately anxious night. Everything 
now depended upon Landon getting my message. 
If an accident, or any other untoward happening, 
held up his force, or delayed it, we might reckon 
that all was up. We could not hope to rely on 
bluff beyond the following morning. Some of the 
Khwashis would, as certain as to-morrow's sun, be 
questioned by the Yarmahommedzais, and, if so, the 
truth as to the fort's garrison would be dragged from 
them. 

I warned the five infantrymen of the great danger 
threatening us, and told them that there could be no 



THE SECOND SURRENDER 131 

sleep for anyone that night. Everyone must keep 
his eyes skinned for any movement in the darkness 
which might be the forerunner of a sudden night 
attack. 

I myself made no attempt to sleep, but continually 
patrolled to see that every man was awake and in his 
place, and that no movement or talking occurred 
amongst Izzat's men. 

Interminable though it seemed, the night at last 
wore itself out, and, as the dawn broke, I climbed to 
the top of the highest tourelle, like Sister Anne, to 
see if anybody was coming. 

So far not a sign of the army, which must approach 
from the North. My spirits sank, and I anxiously 
turned towards the East, and South-East, on which 
sides Jiand's and Shah Sawar's men were encamped. 
No signs of movement there, but this meant little, 
for I knew that, under cover of those well-grown 
crops, their men could stealthily approach, almost to 
the walls, before being observed. 

Once again my eyes turned to the North. 

The hours went by, and with every one that passed 
my anxiety grew. What had happened to Landon ? 
Had he been able to make good time, or was he, as 
he easily might be, if anything had gone wrong, still 
a day's march away ? 

Suddenly I saw a small cloud of dust stirring in 
the plain to the North, and my heart bounded. 

Out of the cloud of dust there presently emerged 
the solitary figure of a camel with a man on his 



132 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

back. The camel devoured the plain until it was 
close to the walls, and I rushed down to the gate to 
see who the rider might be. 

It was my friend the Sarhad-dar, and I was more 
touched than words can express by the manner in 
which he met me, embarrassing though it was at the 
moment. He flung his arms round me and embraced 
me with the utmost affection, for he said that he had 
not hoped to see me alive. My urgent message had 
reached Landon, who was now pushing forward at 
his utmost speed. They had also had numerous 
confirmations of the information I had given as to 
the numbers Jiand was bringing against Khwash, 
and of his intention to retake and kill its defenders. 
The Sarhad-dar's early arrival was explained by his 
action in telling Major Landon he could not wait to 
ride at the slower pace of the army, but must forge 
on ahead to see whether he could do anything to 
help me. The Sarhad-dar's action was one of great 
bravery, for he rode quite alone through territory 
which he was fully aware might have been swarming 
with enemies, and who were actually only a short 
distance from his path. 

When he saw Shah Sawar he turned and cursed 
him volubly, telling him he was an accursed liar and 
traitor, and that, one day, he would see to it that he 
got his full deserts. 

Once again I mounted to the tourelle, and this 
time the dust raised by the approaching cavalry could 
be plainly seen. 



THE SECOND SURRENDER 133 

Idu, who was with me, looking in the opposite 
direction, announced that men were moving in 
Jiand's camp. But, though I have very good eye- 
sight, and though I looked hard and long in the 
direction indicated, I could see nothing. Idu's sight 
was certainly phenomenal, but he could not tell 
whether this movement foretold an attack or a 
friendly visit. In any case it was v/ery lucky 
that Landon's relieving force was so close at 
hand. 

A few minutes later Landon himself arrived with 
the cavalry, hot, fagged out, and covered with sand, 
but much bucked at the fact that he had arrived in 
time. The camels and infantry were only a short 
distance behind, for, as we knew by bitter experience, 
the last stage of the route had been so bad, that, 
until the plain had been reached, five miles away, the 
cavalry could make no better going than the rest of 
our small force ; hence the short distance separating 
them. 

As a matter of fact the whole force arrived very 
soon after, full of fighting spirit, despite the fact that, 
for over a month, it had been continually on the 
march. 

I felt we could now snap our fingers at Jiand. 

As may be imagined it was a very cheery morning, 
for, now that the guns had arrived, we knew that 
Jiand had about as much chance of taking Khwash 
as of grasping the moon. We had beaten him in 
the race with only an hour or two to spare, but since 



134 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

we had won, the game was up for Jiand, at any rate 
for the moment and he knew it ! 

In due course the old ruffian, for he was not 
lacking in pluck whatever he might lack in truth, 
arrived to pay a ceremonial visit, which he said was 
merely for the purpose of doing me honour. He 
had heard, he said, that it had been represented to 
the General Sahib that he had come on a warlike 
mission. This rumour was quite untrue. He had 
merely come, with about a hundred of his tribe, to 
repeat the assurances he had already given of his 
absolute loyalty to the British Raj ! As a matter of 
fact he had left the bulk of his men at the camp 
because he was afraid that they would be disarmed. 

He then asked whether he might see the motor- 
car, about which he had heard such wonderful stories. 
I promptly deputed Idu the romancer as lecturer, 
for no one could compete with him in a description 
of its marvels. 

Allan solemnly set the car in motion, and Jiand 
and his men gazed at him as a sort of demi-god. So 
one must be who could so control the devil in this 
queer shaped thing that he could make it, without 
the help of camels or horses, move across the plain 
and climb the hills. Both he and the General Sahib 
must surely be in close league with Sheitan ! 

After a while I asked Jiand if he would like to go 
for a ride in it, assuring him he would enjoy it. But 
he promptly replied that he would not risk it that 
day. Perhaps at some other time. 



THE SECOND SURRENDER 185 

As a matter of fact the old Chief was utterly 
unnerved at his second failure, and obviously under 
the impression that his position as over-lord of the 
Sarhad was once again in jeopardy. 

When Jiand left I gave Shah Sawar leave to go 
too, but warned him that the next time he broke his 
word it would be the last chance he would get of 
doing it. 

Towards evening Idu, who had slipped away from 
the fort on secret business of his own, came up to my 
quarters to tell me that when Jiand and Shah Sawar 
had got back to their camp, they had received a fine 
scolding from the Gul-Bibi, Shah Sawar's wife, for 
whose fair sake, it will be remembered, the latter 
had bartered Khwash to Mahommed- Hassan, her 
nearest male relation. 

And he chuckled as he went on to describe how 
this imperious lady had jeered at them both, calling 
them fools, and twitting them with the fact that it 
was now common talk that the General had arrived 
with a mere handful of men, and had simply tricked 
them into surrender. Nor did she leave the matter 
there. She proceeded to tell Jiand that, had he had 
the heart of a mouse he could have attacked and 
taken Khwash the night before, or even early that 
morning, for the General's little force had not arrived 
till the sun was well up. 

For her part, she said all her admiration was for 
the General, and she intended to send him two sheep 
as a present, and as a mark of her appreciation. 



136 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

" As a matter of fact," Idu concluded, " the sheep 
have already arrived." 

" But I can't accept presents from a people who 
have been showing themselves hostile," I said. 
" And how is it that a woman can have the audacity 
to lecture a Chief like Jiand, whatever she may do to 
her own husband? " 

" You don't know the Gul-Bibi yet," Idu 
grinned. " But you will. She is one of the most 
influential individuals in the Sarhad, though she is a 
woman. Also, she is one of the most beautiful 
women in the world. And you must pardon me, 
Sahib, but you must accept the sheep she has sent. 
For it would be looked upon as a great insult were 
you to refuse." 

The Sarhad-dar concurred, saying that there was 
no choice. The sheep must be accepted as a peace- 
offering. 

I gave in, and asked what I ought to do in return. 

" Go and call upon her, Sahib," said Idu. " The 
Gul-Bibi is accustomed to have honour paid to her." 

" All right," I replied, and turning to Landon, who 
had been present and much amused, I added, 
1 You'll have to come too. I'm a married man, and 
I'm not going to call on the most beautiful woman 
in the world alone ; though, by the way, I suppose 
she will be veiled? " 

" Certainly not," Idu put in. " The Gul-Bibi 
values her good looks far too highly to conceal them. 
I'll let her know to-night that you and Major Landon 



THE SECOND SURRENDER 137 

will call upon her to-morrow in the motor-car. She 
will be more pleased at that than at the gift of 
many sheep." 

That evening Landon gave me a very disconcert- 
ing piece of information, particularly so in the light 
of present arrangements. It was to the effect that, 
on the way to Khwash, he had captured one of Shah 
Sawar's men carrying letters to the Germans. 
These letters had been written immediately after 
Shah Sawar had been released from Kacha, and 
in the face of the promises given and oaths sworn 
on the Koran. In these letters he had renewed 
his offers of help, and had undertaken to allow 
them to pass, whenever they chose, through his 
section of the Sarhad. 

" The treacherous brute ! " I exclaimed. " What 
on earth are we to do about him now ? I've just sent 
him back to his own people, and have come to terms 
with Jiand. Moreover, we have accepted the Gul- 
Bibi's peace offering, and have promised to visit her 
to-morrow. She seems so influential, too, that if 
we make friends with her, these ruffians may really 
keep their word this time." 

After considerable discussion we decided to 
ignore Shah Sawar's treachery for the present and 
proceed as arranged. 

Shah Sawar and Jiand had large numbers of their 
fighting men on the spot, and Halil Khan, with a 
third big force, was to be expected on the morrow. 
We must, therefore, endeavour to disperse some 



138 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

of these brigands to their homes before we court- 
martialled that arch-villain Shah Sawar! 

The following morning Landon, the Sarhad-dar, 
Idu and myself, set off in the car to call upon the 
Rose Lady the most beautiful woman in the world! 

Half-way there Shah Sawar himself came to meet 
us, and eventually conducted us to a huge jugi. 
Inside this we found the famous beauty, seated on 
a pile of coloured cushions. To my great surprise 
I found that Idu had not exaggerated. The Gul- 
Bibi really was a beautiful young woman, very fair 
for a Sarhadi, with regular, clean cut, almost Grecian 
features, and unusual-looking, big hazel eyes. She 
was evidently small-boned, and her limbs and 
hands were beautifully modelled. She was obviously 
aware of her own attractions, and very animated. 
Her dress was white, embroidered in Persian 
colourings, and she wore a chuddah over her head, 
which fell in graceful folds, without, however, in any 
way concealing her face. 

On our entry she rose with dignity and bowed. 
Shah Sawar then proceeded to introduce us one by 
one. We each bowed in turn, and, at her invitation, 
sat on the ground in front of her, in a semicircle. 

She then proceeded to make us a very charming 
address in Persian, which Landon and I understood, 
though we could neither of us speak much Persian. 
This concluded, with the Sarhad-dar's help, as 
interpreter, I did my best to make a suitable reply. 
These preliminaries completed, a very beautiful 



THE SECOND SURRENDER 180 

Persian carpet was produced and offered to me by 
our hostess. 

This was very embarrassing, and I whispered to 
the Sarhad-dar that I could not possibly accept it. 

His reply was emphatic. " You cannot refuse it. 
You must accept it as you have come here as her 
guest." 

" But," I persisted, " I've got to court-martial her 
husband to-morrow, or the next day, and shall 
probably have to shoot him. I can't take a present 
from her under such circumstances." 

" Shoot him, then, if you must," replied the 
Sarhad-dar. " She can get plenty of husbands. 
But you must accept the carpet now or you will give 
dire offence. You can in any case send a money 
present of equivalent value to-morrow if you like." 

So I was obliged to accept the carpet with the 
best grace I could, and did my best in halting 
Persian to praise both the gift and the giver. 

After this the interview proceeded merrily, and 
the Gul-Bibi proceeded to chaff her husband quite 
openly, telling him that he had been cleverly tricked 
and scored off. She also told him that he was a 
fool and as one without intelligence. 

But Shah Sawar only laughed, taking his wife's 
raillery in good part. It was obvious that she had 
him very much under her thumb, and that he had a 
very strong regard for her. 

Altogether it resolved itself into quite a friendly 
meeting, and, presently, we adjourned to inspect 



140 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

the car, which, as usual, was the occasion of much 
awe and wonderment. The inspection over we 
invited the Gul-Bibi to go for a ride in it one day, 
after which we took our leave and made our way 
back to Khwash. 

A day or so later Halil Khan arrived with a 
following of about twenty-five men. He had left 
his lashkar some miles away, for he had, of course, 
heard of the surrender of both Jiand and Shah 
Sawar. Immediately upon his arrival we held 
another Durbar, and around the circle sat the same 
old collection of warriors, with their Chiefs Jiand, 
Shah Sawar, Mahommed-Hassan and Halil Khan. 
Juma Khan, the only man of his word I had yet 
encountered, was the one absentee. 

Those who were present all solemnly swore to the 
fact that they were there on an entirely friendly 
mission, and that, if I had suspected otherwise, I 
had been totally misinformed! They were all 
sucking doves, or their equivalent, whose one desire 
was to do me honour ! 

I played up to the game, accepted their protesta- 
tions, and told them that, this being so, I had a 
proposition to make. I then proceeded to suggest 
that the Chiefs, each with a certain number of 
followers, should remain with me, whilst the 
remainder were sent back to their homes. My idea, 
I said, was to raise a corps of Levies amongst the 
Sarhadis. I could guarantee that their pay would 
be good, and, as they were already such good fight- 





THE DURBAR AT KHWASH. 
Khan Bahadur (Sarhad Dar) standing. 

RAIDER CHIEFS AT THE DURBAR AT KHWASH. 



THE SECOND SURRENDER 141 

ing men, their training light. I also promised that 
many of their officers should be selected from 
amongst themselves. 

After a short consultation they pretended to fall 
in with the idea, and several of the tribesmen 
actually enlisted then and there. 

But Halil Khan got up and begged me to excuse 
him. He said it was not that he was not willing to 
serve in any corps I might wish to raise, but that 
he was very anxious about his wife and family, who 
were wandering about in the Morpeish hills. He 
was most eager to find them, and would look on 
it as an act of grace if I would permit him to go. 
As the whole scheme in view was to make their 
enlistment voluntary, I had, of course, to consent. 

But he was not to go without a warning, and as 
he got up to leave I called him back, and looked 
him straight between the eyes. " Halil Khan," I 
said, with all the severity I could muster, " if you 
play me false, or ever raise your hand against me 
again, I will blow your head off." 

He looked back at me as steadily. " Sahib, your 
kindness overwhelms me. I swear by the Koran " 
(drawing one from under his robes) " that I will never 
fight against you again." 

' Well, I will accept your word this second time. 
But if you fail to keep it remember." 

And so he left, under safe conduct, and shortly 
afterwards Jiand, but not until I had reminded him 
that I had not yet received the loot he had taken, 



142 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

and which he, at our last meeting, had engaged to 
hand over. I demanded its immediate return, and 
laid special stress on the four tyres included in it. 
I also told him that he must return, at the same time, 
all Government camels seized when he had raided 
the British lines of communication, and also the four 
hundred Afghan camels which I had just heard his 
men had seized on the caravan route from Nushki 
to Robat. 

Jiand faithfully promised that all should be 
returned within a couple of days of his departure 
from the neighbourhood of Khwash. This promise 
he kept to the letter, for the camels and loot arrived 
on the date specified. 

As may be imagined, the tyres were specially 
welcome. Those on the car were absolutely worn 
out, and, of course, we had no possible means of 
obtaining others. 

For the moment, everything seemed peaceful. 
So peaceful that we settled down in Khwash for a 
few quiet weeks ; but, in the interval, did our utmost 
to make the place secure against all attacks. 



CHAPTER IX 

TREACHERY AND ITS SEQUEL 

Further reinforcements Entrenchments and gardens Govern- 
ment inquiries Food supplies An offer to Jiand Murad 
and straw Shah Sawar again Sentence Idu's sugges- 
tion Re-enter the Rose Lady News of Jiand's intentions 
A vital moment A round-up The Sarhad-dar's advice 
A Bhusa hunt Distrustful wives. 

DURING this rest in Khwash I was able to increase 
to some extent the forces under my command. I 
obtained a whole squadron of the 28th Light 
Cavalry, under Colonel Claridge, and two machine 
guns from Nasaratabad. In addition I obtained 
from Kacha a considerable quantity of gun-cotton, 
with fuses, etc., and a supply of barbed wire, of 
which, fortunately, there were large stores at Kacha. 
The men were kept busy with their musketry 
training, and with the improvements that were being 
made in and about the fort. We also succeeded in 
creating a really creditable, and very useful, garden 
outside the walls, with the help of a native gardener, 
whom I had sent for from Kacha. He brought 
large quantities of seeds with him, and it was amaz- 
ing how, in so short a time, we were able to obtain 
full-grown marrows, cucumbers, pumpkins, Indian 

143 



144 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

corn, turnips, carrots, lettuces and spinach. These 
fresh vegetables formed an invaluable addition to, 
and variation of, a very monotonous diet. We also 
sowed a considerable amount of barley of a kind 
which comes to maturity and ripens within three 
months. 

The men were immensely interested in their 
garden, but were still more eager to toil on the 
serious work of improving our defences, and in the 
building of barracks to obtain shelter from the sun. 

The forces at my disposal were, at best, 
infinitesimal compared with those the Raiders could 
collect, though, of course, the latter were at the 
great disadvantage of being minus mountain or 
machine guns. But supposing as might happen at 
any moment it became necessary to divide my 
forces, part to go on any expedition, and part to 
remain in defence of Khwash, the Raiders, if they 
chose to attack in numbers, could, without question, 
recapture their capital. 

I decided, therefore, to blow up the surrounding 
walls of the fort, as well as the three smaller 
tourelles, leaving the tallest tower alone standing. 
In places of these raised tourelles I made an 
entrenched camp outside the site of the old walls. 
Peculiar folds in the ground lent themselves well 
to my purpose, enabling me to place the defensive 
lines along the tops of the folds. The interior of 
the work was thus well concealed from view. 

The high tourelle was then improved and 



TREACHERY AND ITS SEQUEL 145 

strengthened, and a machine gun placed on its top 
to command the whole of the camp below. 

Those Raiders dwelling in the surrounding dis- 
tricts took a keen interest in these changes, for they 
were under the impression that we had only 
demolished the existing walls with the intention of 
building stronger and higher ones, and asked me 
how high I intended to make them. 

As I did not think it wise to gratify their curiosity, 
I replied that, when finished, it might be just possible 
to see the tops of them ! From this reply the rumour 
got abroad that I was making a vast fortress, and, 
later on, the Persian Government sent urgent 
inquiries as to why I had built a great fort in Persia 
without its permission. It was, in consequence, 
difficult to persuade them that I had built nothing, 
but, on the contrary, had blown up existing walls, 
and that all that I had done in excess of this was 
to dig into the ground! 

Although time was passing peacefully and busily 
in the organisation of these various works, I was 
beginning to get very anxious about the food supply 
of both men and beasts. 

It was now the end of May and the heat was 
intense. The camels used in the caravans bringing 
supplies from India found little or no grazing 
between marches, and died in their dozens on the 
way, the consequence being that but little of the 
supplies despatched from India ever reached us. 

Our horses began to die off in alarming numbers. 



146 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

The grass on the slopes of the hills surrounding 
Khwash was of course quickly eaten up, and we 
were reduced practically to nothing, not possessing 
even straw as fodder. To make matters worse there 
were still three months to wait before we could hope 
to obtain straw from the barley we had sown. 
Altogether the position was beginning to be of an 
alarming nature, and I began to wonder whether, 
though Jiand and all his men had not been able to 
turn us out of Khwash, we might not be driven out 
by slow starvation. 

Something had to be done and done quickly. No 
stone must be left unturned to save us from this 
pass, and I cast about for means of feeding the 
animals other than by these failing supplies from 
India. It was then that I suddenly remembered 
Jiand's crops at Kamalabad. When, on the first 
occasion, he had surrendered there I had spared not 
only the lives of himself and his followers but his 
crops as well. Those crops I decided to call upon 
him to share with us now. 

Accordingly, in the early part of June, I sent for 
him, and in a few days he obeyed the summons, 
but was obviously reluctant, and very morose. 

I thereupon frankly told him the position with 
regard to the animals, and said that I knew he must 
have vast quantities of bhusa from his crops, for the 
bulk of which he could have no use, and asked him 
to sell it. 

The old villain refused point blank. I swallowed 



TREACHERY AND ITS SEQUEL 147 

my anger as best I could, and told him I would give 
four times the market price for it if he would send 
it at once. 

But he was obstinate, and persisted in his refusal, 
in spite of all my offers. 

As a matter of fact I had been told repeatedly 
that it was Jiand's one hope and ambition that I 
would try conclusions with him in his own part of 
the country, where his secret hiding places, and 
defences amidst the difficult hill country, were only 
known to his own tribe. Moreover, so I was also 
told, Halil Khan was continually urging him to 
force me to fight. Halil Khan himself was itching 
to wipe out the humiliation and discredit they had 
both suffered as an outcome of being bluffed twice 
when they could actually have wiped us out. 

Indignant as I was there was nothing to be done 
but to let him go. I had promised him safe con- 
duct to and fro ; I, therefore, had no alternative. 

But there was still another stone that could be 
turned. About five miles distant from the valley of 
Kamalabad, Jiand's stronghold, lay another fertile 
valley, Karsimabad, the property of an old Chief 
named Murad. This old man had at one time been 
the leader of the Sarhad, until Jiand had deposed 
him from his leadership and assumed it himself. 
Although Murad was outwardly on friendly terms 
with Jiand he was not strong enough to show him- 
self otherwise I had heard many hints of the old 
ex-Chief's jealousy of and resentment towards Jiand. 



148 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

I, therefore, sent for Murad and asked him if he 
would sell his straw, telling him that Jiand had 
refused to do business with me. The old fellow 
assured me I could have all the straw I wanted, and 
that I could have it for nothing. Of course I refused 
his generosity, told him I would pay him what I 
had offered Jiand, and instructed him to get it ready 
as soon as possible, when I would send my camels 
to bring it in. 

Before Murad, who was obviously delighted with 
such a good piece of business, departed he gave me 
a word of warning which fully confirmed all I had 
heard of Halil Khan's and Jiand's smouldering 
enmity. 

" If they can kill you, Sahib, they will. And they 
will most surely fight against you and try to kill 
you before many weeks are past." 

It was about this date that repeated confirmations 
reached me of Shah Sawar's persistent treachery. 
Up to the present I had elected to ignore the incident 
of his letters to the Germans. They had never 
reached their destinations, so no harm had been 
done so far. It had been my constant wish, despite 
all the warnings I had received, to make friends 
with the Yarmahommedzais. But it was now time, 
I considered, to take some notice of Shah Sawar's 
activities, and this seemed a suitable moment to 
charge him bluntly concerning his traffic with the 
Germans. 

Accordingly he was summoned to appear before 



TREACHERY AND ITS SEQUEL 149 

a drum-head court martial consisting of myself and 
two other officers, to be tried for repeated acts of 
treachery, and particularly for communication with 
the Germans, coupled with the information supplied 
to the same quarter that I had few troops, and that, 
if they (the Germans) came to the Sarhad it would 
be easy for them, with his help, to overwhelm my 
whole force. 

As usual, Shah Sawar swore he was innocent of 
all these charges and pointed out that it was obvious 
he could not possibly have been guilty, as he could 
not write. 

Then I played a trump card, for I produced the 
mullah (priest) who had written the letters at his 
dictation, and who had wandered, a day or so before, 
into the camp. 

When Shah Sawar caught sight of the mullah he 
shrugged his shoulders and muttered, " Kismet." 
He knew the game was up, confessed at once that 
he had dictated the letters, and had put his mark 
to them. 

There was naturally only one sentence that could 
be passed upon him, and he knew it. He was found 
guilty and condemned to be shot. He implored me 
to give him another chance, but I was tired of his 
broken promises, and told him flatly that he had 
offended once too often. He had been convicted 
by a duly constituted court martial, and the finding 
of the court must stand. I told him also that his 
time was short, and advised him to write any fare- 



150 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

well messages he wanted to send, and to make his 
will as quickly as possible. The mullah was also 
given leave to write anything that Shah Sawar 
wished to dictate. 

As I passed from the tent I gazed hard at Shah 
Sawar. The sweat was pouring down his face 
few men can hear the sentence of immediate death 
without emotion of some sort but he did not utter 
a sound. It must be admitted that he bore himself 
like a man, as, with a gesture of resignation, he 
told the mullah he wanted him to start writing at 
once. 

Whilst he was writing out his last wishes, I made 
my way to the Durbar tent to wait until he had 
finished. On my way I met Idu and told him the 
result of the court martial. Idu had an uncanny 
gift of intuition and I am certain realised how much 
I disliked my obvious but uncongenial duty. He 
looked at me strangely and then disappeared. 

Some little time later I was leaving the tent when 
I caught sight of the Gul-Bibi, Shah Sawar's wife, 
dressed in her very best attire, running towards me. 
Directly she reached me, she fell on her knees and, 
touching my feet with her hands, broke into? 
lamentations. 

" What is it? " I asked, trying to speak sternly. 
" What have you to say ? " 

The Gul-Bibi had a great deal to say ! She said 
that Idu had gone to her and told her of the sentence 
that had been passed on her husband and she had 



TREACHERY AND ITS SEQUEL 151 

come to plead for his life. She used every argument 
she could think of to persuade me to reverse the 
finding of the court, and finally went bail in her own 
person for the future good behaviour of the hand- 
some rascal, if only he might have another chance. 

" I swear to you," she said passionately, " that if 
ever my fool of a husband raises his hand against 
you again or breaks his word to you, I will shoot 
him with my own hands. I, the Gul-Bibi, swear it." 

It occurred to me that after all it might be 
politic to temper justice with mercy. Shah Sawar 
undoubtedly had great influence and the concession 
of his life might be a turning-point in the determi- 
nation of his tribe to be loyal to the British cause. 

I said that she had accomplished what no one else 
could have done and that her eloquence had 
persuaded me to grant her her husband's life. 

" But this is the very last time I will show him 
any mercy. Shah Sawar has proved himself a 
traitor and has broken his oath again and again. I 
am only letting him go now on your guarantee of his 
good behaviour in the future. If ever he breaks 
faith again, it will be for the very last time. You 
may go now and tell him what I have said and tell 
him that he owes his life entirely to you." 

I directed her to the tent where she would find 
Shah Sawar waiting for death, and presently she 
returned with her husband by her side. He was 
obviously very subdued and very impressed. His 
gratitude was genuine enough, anyhow for the 



152 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

moment, and once more he promised that he would 
never fight again etc., etc. 

The next day a message was received from Murad 
to the effect that he had collected a fine quantity of 
bhusa, and that it was piled up in fourteen great 
stacks ready for transport, if camels could be sent 
to fetch it. 

Word was sent back that I would go myself on 
the morrow to Karsimabad with the camels, and a 
small escort, in order that it might be possible to 
thank and pay him in person. 

Accordingly orders were given for the escort and 
camels to be ready to start early the next morning. 

But, that night, news was brought by one of 
Landon's intelligence men which caused a modifi- 
cation of these plans. 

It should here be mentioned that Major Landon 
had, shortly before, been obliged to leave me. It 
will be remembered that he was one of but three 
Intelligence Officers in Persia, and had therefore to 
return to his duties. His place as my Brigade 
Major had been taken by a very able Staff Officer, 
Major Sanders of the 36th Sikhs. 

The news the scout brought me was to the effect 
that Jiand knew all about my proposed visit to 
Karsimabad, and was planning to attack in force, and 
capture me. He had been waiting for a good 
opportunity to lure me out of Khwash, and now 
felt he had his chance. 

" Well, he shall have it," I replied. " Only,' we 



TREACHERY AND ITS SEQUEL 153 

will disappoint him. For instead of going with only a 
small escort, we'll take a good part of our entire army, 
and the guns. He'll then have his work cut out." 

The consequence being that when we marched 
out on the following morning we made an imposing 
spectacle. I determined to do the thing thoroughly, 
so took a considerable number of infantry, the 
cavalry, guns and a large convoy of camels. 

We had only marched a short distance when one 
of the scouts came in with the information that all 
the bhusa at Karsimabad had been burned. 

At first I could hardly believe my ears and told 
him he must be mistaken; that perhaps some of it 
had been burned by accident, but that fourteen 
stacks, the number Murad had mentioned as 
collected, could not all have been burned by this 
means. But the man proceeded to tell me that it was 
no accident. He himself had seen the scorched 
ground upon which the stacks had stood. They 
had been built sufficiently far apart to make it 
impossible to be burned by one setting light to 
another. Each stack had been separately and 
individually fired, and Murad had proof that it had 
been done by Jiand's men. 

As may be imagined, I was nearly beside myself 
with rage at the news. It would entail untold 
suffering amongst our unfortunate beasts, who were 
already underfed. The act was unforgivable, 
especially when we were just hoping to obtain a 
safeguard against the worst months of the year. 



154 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

The march of the column was immediately 
quickened. There remained but one thing to do 
to go forward and ascertain the truth. If Jiand had 
really been guilty of this act he should be accom- 
modated as regards fighting. So far everything 
possible had been done to create friendly relations 
with Him, and over and above this he had been, 
throughout, generously and leniently treated. But 
patience has its limits, and there could be no more 
leniency. 

Despite the burning heat we managed to cover 
the distance in record time, and were within 
five miles of Karsimabad when the advance 
guard reported the enemy in sight, and in large 
numbers. 

" Come out to capture me, I suppose! " I 
remarked to Sanders. " Jiand i's, probably, still 
under the impression that we are coming with only 
a small escort. I wonder what he'll do when he sees 
the column and the guns ? " 

What he did do we were soon to know. The old 
villain must have indulged in one short look to 
realise, once again, that he had been foiled in his 
attempt at a surprise ; for I knew, by current rumour, 
that he stood in deadly terror of what the guns could 
do. He had certainly never seen them working, 
but had heard the rattle of the Maxims at Koh-i- 
taftan, and had a wholesome dread of their destructive 
possibilities. When, therefore, the cavalry and the 
guns came into view, instead of attacking, he sent 



TREACHERY AND ITS SEQUEL 155 

a messenger ahead to meet me, and to ask whether 
he might come and do me honour ! 

" Tell him," I replied, still furiously angry, " that 
it is not a case of may he come he must come 
himself and instantly. I am in no playful mood as 
he will find to his cost." 

A few minutes later we saw Jiand, accompanied 
by two or three men ambling towards us on his camel. 
Immediately on his arrival Jiand assured me that, 
hearing I was in the neighbourhood, he had come 
with his followers to do me honour. 

" Honour be damned ! " I retorted. " What do 
you mean by burning the bhusa I have bought from 
Murad? Was that also by way of doing me 
honour? " 

Jiand protested his innocence. Was it possible 
that anything that belonged to the General Sahib 
should, or could, be burned? And how could he 
(the General) so wrong him (Jiand) as to suspect him 
of any such offence? If the bhusa really was 
burned, he swore that he was innocent, and had had 
nothing to do with it. 

" We'll soon prove whether you had or not," I 
returned. " I am on my way to Karsimabad to 
inquire into it. You will go there too, and if I 
find you had a hand in it, as I am convinced you 
had, you shall regret it to your dying day. Go on 
in front of me, and wait for me in Karsimabad." 

With a sullen face Jiand obeyed, and our own 
force continued its march. 



156 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

Arrived within three-quarters of a mile of Murad's 
place we halted at what appeared to be a favourable 
place to camp. This represented a hard flat piece 
of ground at the base of a small hill. A picket on 
the hill-top would command the surrounding country 
and so prevent surprise. 

The bulk of the force was left and I went forward 
with an escort of about a dozen infantrymen and 
some fifteen cavalrymen. 

At the entrance to Karsimabad I noticed a huge 
tree with a mud platform placed round its base, close 
beside the ruins of a small fort. This seemed to 
offer an ideal spot upon which to hold the inquiry, 
for the tree afforded a wide circle of shade from 
the burning heat. 

Accordingly I sat down, with Sanders and the 
Sarhad-dar on either side, whilst the cavalry accom- 
panying us dismounted and remained behind the 
tree. The infantry-escort formed up on our right. 

Murad, who appeared greatly distressed, came 
forward and told me that all the bhusa he had 
collected for us had been burned down, thus 
confirming the report I had already received. 

" Who did it? " I thundered. " Can you produce 
the man who dared to burn my property? " 

To my great surprise Murad said he could. He 
had captured the man, a Yarmahommedzai. 

Scarcely had the man been brought forward when, 
from every quarter, appeared men armed with rifles. 
A moment before the place, excepting for ourselves, 



TREACHERY AND ITS SEQUEL 157 

had been empty. These men seemed to have sprung 
out of the ground, but must, actually, have been 
concealed in the adjoining fields. In an instant I 
could tell that they were picked men of Jiand's 
lashkar. There must have been between one 
hundred and fifty and two hundred of them. They 
came forward and squatted down in a circle close in 
front of us ; Jiand, and his kinsman and evil genius, 
a man named Nur-Mahommed, placing themselves 
well in the foreground. 

In a flash I realised the tactical error I had made 
in leaving the main force three-quarters of a mile 
away, and before I had made certain that Jiand's 
men had not occupied Karsimabad. These men 
held their magazine rifles, which were always loaded, 
across their knees. From where we sat, I now 
realised, and too late, that I could not see, or signal 
to, my own small force, and that, except by a miracle, 
it would be equally ignorant of these proceedings. 
I glanced quickly behind me at the fifteen or sixteen 
cavalrymen I had brought, saw that they had dis- 
mounted and were holding their lances in their 
hands, whilst their rifles remained in the buckets on 
the off-sides of the horses. A bad position for 
getting at them when dismounted and at a moment's 
notice. 

It was obvious that I had allowed myself to be 
caught in a trap. We all knew it, though not one 
man with me showed it by the quiver of an eyelid. 

I turned to the man whom Murad had brought 



158 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

forward and placed before me as the burner of the 
stacks of straw. 

" How dare you burn my bhusa? What reason 
had you for doing it, and who told you to do it ? " 

Before the man, who was trembling like a leaf, 
had time to answer, Nur-Mahommed sprang up and 
shouted : 

" The country is ours and everything in it. We 
will burn the bhusa, or burn anything we like." 

And he glared at Sanders and myself in a way that 
left no doubt as to his meaning. 

I told him angrily to sit down, as I was not 
talking to him. For answer he assumed a threaten- 
ing attitude, and openly sneered at me for attempting 
to give orders I could not enforce. 

I ordered a sepoy to arrest him. 

What followed all happened in a flash. 

The sepoy had scarcely moved a step to obey 
when every one of Jiand's men leapt to their feet and 
brought their rifles to the present. 

I must confess to having acted automatically. 
Indeed, there was no time to think or do otherwise. 

I literally roared at them. " How dare you, you 
dogs ? Sit down this instant ! " 

I reached out my hands towards Jiand who was 
close to me, and, in a paroxysm of rage, forced him 
down by my side. 

" Sit down ! " I roared again into the dark faces of 
the men surrounding us. 

Hesitation and doubt spread amongst that 



TREACHERY AND ITS SEQUEL 159 

threatening crowd and the bulk of them sat 
down! 

They were now given no time to recover their 
poise. Sanders and the escort were at once ordered 
to disarm the men who remained standing. 

Like a flash my men darted forward, only too 
thankful to take action instead of waiting to be shot 
down, and in a twinkling had wrenched their rifles 
from the scowling brutes who were hesitating as to 
whether they would shoot first or submit. They 
were looking to their Chief for a lead. But Jiand, 
that once invincible warrior, had lost his nerve, and 
now sat cowering, unable either to make a decision 
or dominate his own men. 

So, whilst they stood, furtive and undecided, they 
were disarmed and left helpless. 

" Now," I shouted, turning to those who had sat 
down, " get up and place your rifles against that 
wall, there," pointing to the wall of the mud fort. 
" And if there is the slightest sign of treachery I will 
shoot you down like the dogs you are." 

Like a lot of beaten sheep they got up and 
obeyed. 

The danger was over before we had had time 
fully to realise it. 

I then proceeded to tell the Raiders what I 
thought of them in language which has since been 
reported as hectic. They were told that their lives 
and their property had been spared again and again ; 
that over and over again their liberty had been given 



160 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

them when they should have been kept as prisoners. 
But this time their offence was beyond forgiveness 
and they should now have a taste of the treatment 
they deserved. 

I then ordered my escort to seize and tie the men 
together, and drive them back to the camp. A 
certain number of the Yarmahommedzais leapt up at 
this, and, before they could be stopped, had bolted 
into the high-grown crops surrounding the place. 
But we caught a good sixty of them, and these were 
bound by their hands in groups of three by their 
turbans. They were then marched off to the main 
column, which had remained in blissful ignorance of 
these happenings a short three-quarters of a mile 
away. 

Sanders and I remained where we were, and a few 
minutes later the Sarhad-dar returned, wiping the 
sweat from his face. 

1 That was a close shave, Sahib," he said, and I 
could see that his hands were shaking, despite the 
fact that he had behaved with the utmost bravery 
during the crisis. " Though so many got away, 
amongst those we have captured are nearly all the 
leading men of the Yarmahommedzais. Without 
them the tribe will be as men without leaders, and 
we need not fear them. I have searched and 
questioned some of them, and I have indisputable 
proofs that they came to capture you. They wanted 
you alive, not dead, that they might be able to 
dictate their own terms." 



TREACHERY AND ITS SEQUEL 161 

" Well," I said disgustedly, " I've had enough in 
the way of trying to make friends with them. I know 
that both you and Idu have advised all along that it 
would be of no use, but I have hoped against hope. 
Now the Indian Government must deal with them, 
and I shall advise the Government that the best 
thing to do will be to send them to India and imprison 
them there." 

The Sarhad-dar replied, with heartfelt relief, " I 
am thankful you have at last come to that decision. 
It's the only chance of obtaining peace in the Sarhad. 
Juma Khan has already given ample proof of his 
loyalty, and Halil Khan, untrustworthy as he is, 
would never dream of fighting the Sirkar alone. If 
I may advise I would suggest that whoever is 
ultimately set free Nur-Mahommed is never liber- 
ated. He is Jiand's evil genius. Without him you 
might have won over Jiand to real loyalty, but so 
long as Nur-Mahommed, who is a devil, is always 
whispering in his ear you can never trust Jiand to 
keep any oath." 

Before we left Karsimabad I paid Murad some 
compensation for his straw, for he had had the best 
intentions. 

When we reached the main column, which was 
now agog with curiosity, I once again combed out 
our prisoners, retaining some forty-three and letting 
the others go. It must be remembered that we were 
desperately short of food ourselves and I did not 
want a single unnecessary mouth to feed. 



162 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

But I was not going back to Khwash without a 
supply of fodder for our animals. I, therefore, told 
Jiand that as he had burned the bhusa I had bought, 
and had refused his own at the generous price 
offered, I should now take his without payment. 

So we made a detour by way of Kamalabad, where 
my men immediately started hunting for straw and 
wheat. We eventually found that the latter had 
been carefully hidden by Jiand, and in a highly 
ingenious way. The wheat had been put into sacks, 
and buried in the sand dunes. The sand had then 
been carefully smoothed over, leaving nothing to 
show that it had been disturbed. 

But, before our search, I asked the Sarhad-dar, 
" How on earth will the men find the sacks ? " fearful 
lest, after all, Jiand had foiled me. 

" They know how to find it," he replied. " Give 
them the order to search for it and you'll see what 
they'll do. They know the trick well enough." 

Accordingly, orders were issued to search for, 
and carry off, all the sacks of wheat and all bhusa 
that could be found. 

In an instant they were at work amongst the sand 
dunes, prodding in the sand with their cleaning rods. 
Every now and again a man would shout " Here ! " 
and after a few minutes' digging a sack would be 
dragged to light. 

It was immensely interesting to watch this unearth- 
ing of plunder, and after a while I called " Give me 
a cleaning rod and let me try." 



TREACHERY AND ITS SEQUEL 163 

But I proved a hopeless exponent of the game. 
Prod as I would, I could find nothing, though 
the smiling Rekis would prod where I had drawn 
blank and fish out several sacks. This wheat was a 
great find, and was loaded on to the camels with the 
greatest care. 

From Kamalabad I sent a couple of men ahead 
with messages to Colonel Claridge who had 
remained behind in charge of Khwash telling him 
briefly what had happened, and asking him to 
prepare a barbed wire cage for the prisoners now 
being brought in. 

So promptly did he set to work that, when 
we m-arched in next day, there was ready as perfect 
a cage as any commander could wish to have. 

We were given a great reception by the garrison, 
delighted at the plunder we had brought. The 
bhusa meant the saving of our animals, and the 
wheat was invaluable to ourselves, as our supply of 
flour had begun to run very short. 

The wheat was given to the ladies of Khwash to 
grind outside the camp. These industrious females 
all possessed little stone hand-mills, and, for many 
days afterwards, the air was filled with the sound of 
these at work. These same ladies implored me to 
pay them in person for their work, because, they 
informed me, their men-folk were not to be trusted. 
It appeared on inquiry that when the men were paid 
they were apt to put the wages of their wives' labour 
into their own pockets. So, each afternoon, for some 



164 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

days, we had a pay-parade of Khwashi ladies to 
receive in rupees the wages they had honestly 
earned. 

While I was waiting for Government instructions 
as to the disposal of our Yarmahommedzai prisoners 
I made these work at strengthening the camp. It 
was not easy to get much work out of them as they 
strongly resented being put to what they considered 
to be a degradation. They maintained it to be a 
gross indignity for a fighting man to be made to 
work with his hands, and contended that all manual 
labour should be performed by lower caste people 
such as the Khwashis. 

But honest work did not hurt them, for, during 
their imprisonment, their health improved to a 
remarkable extent. This result was probably due to 
the increased variety of their rations, and to the 
vegetables grown in our new garden which they 
shared with the garrison. 




CHAPTER X 

FAILURE AND FRESH PLANS 



Slave buying A diet discovery Poetic justice Disposition of 
prisoners Incredible news The Sawar's story Disposal 
of forces The march to Kamalabad Jiand grains his 
freedom Retreat to Khwash. 

WHILST waiting instructions from the Indian Govern- 
ment as to the disposal of our Sarhadi prisoners I 
turned my attention to the slave question. This 
had long been one of my pre-occupations. The 
chief trouble lay in the fact that not only the 
Yarmahommedzais and the Gamshadzais, but also 
the friendly Rekis the men of Idu's tribe- 
possessed large numbers of these unfortunate 
women and children. The consequence was that, 
when I announced that an order was about to be 
issued commanding the surrender of all slaves 
throughout the Sarhad, Idu openly groused. 

He pointed out that it would be a great hardship 
on his fellow- tribesmen. Many of them had not 
actually engaged in raids, but had honourably 
bought, and paid for, the women from their captors, 
and that, in consequence, they would not only be 
out of pocket to the extent of the purchase price 
but would, also, be without servants to do their 
menial work. 

165 



166 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

Idu's point of view was clear enough, but he was 
asked, " what about the unfortunate slaves ? " 

The Sarhad-dar backed me up for all he was 
worth, and at last a compromise was made. The 
order went forth that the slaves must all be liberated 
without question, but that, as the Rekis had aided us 
in every possible way, the Government would 
purchase their slaves at the rate of three hundred 
rupees for a woman, seventy-five for a girl, and 
twenty-five for a boy. 

In due course slaves began to arrive from every 
direction, though undoubtedly the order was ignored 
in every instance where it was possible to do so. At 
last, in order to accelerate delivery, it was necessary 
to promise to purchase all slaves, no matter by whom 
owned. From that moment it was astonishing how 
the number increased, some arriving on camels, 
others on foot. The condition of these wretched 
women and children was pitiable in the extreme. 
Some of them were those whom Izzat had captured 
during his recent big raid, but the majority had been 
in captivity for many years and were in a wretched 
state, half-starved, half-naked, and cowed, as the 
outcome of evident ill-treatment. Many appeared 
to have lost all hope in life. 

These poor folk were given quarters amongst the 
Khwashis, special jugis being set aside for them, and 
were gradually restored to some semblance of 
civilised humanity. White army drill and brightly 
coloured prints, were requisitioned from Kacha. 





RAIDED SLAVES ON THE WAY TO THEIR HOMES. 
A PERSIAN GIRL CAFTURED BY JUMA KHAN, AND WHO ESCAPE]) TO KHWASH. 



FAILURE AND FRESH PLANS 167 

With these materials the Khwashi ladies made 
garments for our enfranchised slaves. It was pitiful 
to see their joy and gratitude when told that they 
were now free, and would shortly be sent back to 
their own homes. 

One of our new guests became a constant source 
of wonder to us all. She was a fine, well-grown, 
attractive young woman of about nineteen or twenty, 
and had been a captive in the hands of a Gamshadzai 
Chief. When she heard of the order that all slaves 
were to be released she claimed her freedom, and 
her right to go to the British General at Khwash, 
where safe asylum was offered to all Persian slaves. 
Her Gamshadzai master, however, had not the 
slightest intention of letting her go. She was far too 
useful. 

But this Persian girl possessed both grit and 
powers of endurance. One night she escaped in the 
darkness, and, though pursued for a long distance 
by her captor, managed to elude him., and made good 
her escape. Apparently she ran all through the 
night, covering fully forty miles over rough precipi- 
tous hills and sandy plains. It seemed an incredible 
feat at first none of us believed the tale but she 
provided such striking evidence of it that we had at 
last to believe her. 

Poor soul, she was very dirty, her feet were bare 
and her clothing torn to ribbpns, but in her pride and 
joy at being free once more, she was a moving 
picture. 



168 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

The emaciated condition of these slaves filled us 
all with commiseration, and when it was commented 
upon amongst ourselves the Sarhad-dar remarked 
grimly, " You can't have seen their staple food. If 
you had, you wouldn't wonder. They carry it in 
those little bags they all bring in with them." 

My curiosity was aroused and I asked some of the 
women to show me what was contained in those bags. 
They promptly told me that they contained the only 
food they were allowed by their captors, apart from 
any green stuff they were themselves able to gather 
wild on the hillsides. Some of the bags were then 
emptied, and quantities of dried beetles were poured 
out on the ground. 

Incredible as it seems close inquiry confirmed their 
statement that these dried beetles formed the 
greater part of their diet. With this evidence one 
could no longer wonder that these poor creatures 
were in such a wretched, cowed and hopeless 
state. 

When as many slaves were collected as could be 
accommodated it became needful to send them off in 
order to make room for others, and also to obviate 
the necessity of feeding them. Moreover, now that 
this batch had begun to regain its humanity, its 
members were very anxious to return to their own 
homes, and when it was announced that we were 
going to repatriate them under escort they fell to 
laughing and crying with joy. When they were told 
that this would be done under the charge of Izzat 



FAILURE AND FRESH PLANS 169 

the Yarmahommedzai who had captured so many of 
them their joy was turned to dismay, and they 
implored me not to trust them to his tender mercies, 
but to send them with anyone else, for he would 
surely take them back again into captivity. 

" I have decided on Izzat," I replied, " because he 
is a Chief who has plenty of camels of his own for 
your transport, and, as he stole so many of you, he 
will know exactly where to return you. But you 
shall hear yourselves what I am going to say to him. 
If, then, you are not satisfied, I will choose someone 
else. You shall decide for yourselves." 

Accordingly Izzat was sent for, and informed of 
this order. I considered it a piece of poetic justice 
that he should be the one to restore the people whom 
he had stolen, and whose lives he had ruined. Izzat 
listened grimly and I fancied I could detect in his 
dark eyes a hint of what he proposed doing when 
these women were once again in his power. 

" And," I added quietly, " you will bring back and 
place in my hands a letter from every one of the 
women I put in your care. I have the names of all 
of them written down. These letters must be written 
individually by each woman after she has safely 
reached her own home, and must also state that she 
has been well used on the way. If there is lacking 
a letter from any single one of these women, when 
you return to Khwash, I shall hang every member 
of your family on the tree under which I am now 
sitting, and you will then be able to count their dead 



170 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

bodies for yourself. They will remain in my charge 
during your absence." 

Izzat could see that I meant what I said. " Sahib, 
I am in your hands. I will do whatever you say." 

I then turned to the eager Persian women. 

" You have heard what has been said. You have 
listened to the conditions made, and which Izzat has 
accepted. Are you willing now to go with him? " 

They all assured me they were, and a day or so 
later the cavalcade set out, Izzat taking sufficient 
camels to allow for the accommodation of all who 
were infirm and weak, and for the fitter members to 
be able to ride turn and turn about, also for the 
portage of sufficient food for their long trek of some 
one hundred and fifty miles into the Narmashir. 

As may be imagined it was a great relief to us all 
when we had seen them safely on their way. I 
should here record the fact that, in due course, Izzat 
returned, bearing letters from every one of the slaves 
to the effect that they had safely arrived at their 
own homes. He dared not risk the penalty he knew 
would have surely been exacted had he failed in his 
trust. 

After some little delay I received from Quetta an 
answer to my request for instructions as to the dis- 
posal of the Sarhadi prisoners. This answer directed 
that they should be sent straight to Quetta, a distance 
of something like four hundred and fifty miles. 

Naturally I had not sufficient troops to spare for 
an adequate escort on such a long march, and sent 



FAILURE AND FRESH PLANS 171 

an answer to that effect ; but, at the same time, sug- 
gested that if the Government could arrange for 
escort, by Indian troops from Saindak (about nine 
marches from- Khwash), I could arrange to police 
them that distance. 

After waiting another two weeks, word came that 
three hundred of the io6th Hazara Pioneers would 
be sent to Saindak to take them over, and I was 
requested to send the prisoners there, under escort, 
without delay. I was also informed that a wireless 
troop was immediately being dispatched to Khwash, 
the purpose being to open up easier communication 
with India. At this period the only method of such 
communication was by wire from Robat, or Kacha, 
to Quetta, and camel messengers had then to be 
employed to take messages from Robat, or Kacha, 
to Khwash, a not always reliable, and often lengthy, 
proceeding. 

Accordingly, when I knew the exact date of the 
Hazaras' arrival at Saindak, I made my own disposi- 
tions for sending the Sarhadi prisoners there. It 
should be clearly understood that the whole of the 
rough, roadless district lying between these two 
places was over-run by the enemy, and, moreover, an 
enemy deeply resentful of the fact that so many of 
their Chiefs were in our hands. It must be remem- 
bered, too, that our numbers were, compared with 
theirs, ludicrously small. 

We calculated, however, and reasonably I think, 
on the unlikelihood of an attack by the Yarmahom- 



172 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARI^AD 

medzais on the column, owing to the presence of 
the more important prisoners, whose lives they would 
not dare to endanger. It was, therefore, thought 
absolutely safe for the wireless troop, who would be 
accompanied by a small escort only, to come through 
to us at the same time as, and on a parallel route to, 
that of the prisoners, though the two parties were 
marching in opposite directions. The wireless troop 
had orders to come South along the Eastern slopes 
of the Koh-i-taftan, and the prisoners were to be 
marched North over the Western slopes of the same 
peak. 

I decided also to send as large an escort as possible 
with the prisoners, my object being to ensure against 
any contretemps prior to their receipt by the Hazaras 
a magnificent type of fighting man for conduct 
to India. I also had another reason, for I had been 
warned, by repeated rumour, that Halil Khan was 
then occupied in gathering his entire forces together 
for the rescue of Jiand and his men whilst being 
marched northward to Saindak. 

Our own garrison was, therefore, practically 
reduced to a skeleton, whilst a force consisting of 
three troops of cavalry, seventy-five infantry( about 
three-fourths of our total numbers) and two maxims, 
under the command of two white officers, was 
detached for escort duties. 

This column started early one morning in July, 
and was to march eighteen miles on the first day. 

That same night, or rather early on the following 



FAILURE AND FRESH PLANS 173 

morning, for it was about two a.m., I was awakened 
in my tent and informed that a sawar had just arrived 
with an urgent message for me. A moment later one 
of the cavalrymen composing the escort, which had 
started so gaily about twenty hours before, came in, 
breathing quickly and heavily with the speed at 
which he had ridden. He told me that he had ridden 
as he had never ridden before to bring me a message 
from the officer commanding the prisoners' escort. 
It was to the effect that every one of the prisoners, 
save Jiand and one of his sons, had escaped in the 
darkness, and that he awaited further orders in the 
circumstances. 

For a moment I thought I was still asleep and 
dreaming. How could it be possible that forty- 
five unarmed men had succeeded in escaping from 
an armed, and numerically larger, escort? 

But the stark truth was at last forced upon me, and 
it amounted to nothing short of absolute disaster. 
The whole of my four months' work had been 
undone in a few hours, and I was confronted with 
the knowledge that I should now have to make a 
humiliating confession of utter failure, and at the 
very moment when the work I had been sent to do 
seemed so nearly and successfully finished. 

The situation resolved itself into this; not only 
would it now be impossible to hand over our enemy 
and ringleaders to the large armed escort now on its 
way, and especially detailed to receive them, but 
these escaped Chiefs would be able to reorganise and 



174 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

hearten up their people, who had remained quiet 
during the past few weeks simply because they had 
been without their leadership. 

These same Chiefs, of course, knew to a man the 
strength of our force, and were naturally bitter with 
resentment as an outcome of their recent captivity. 
They would, I knew, now leave no stone unturned 
in their endeavour to wipe us out. My feelings can 
be better imagined than described. 

The Sawar was questioned closely as to this 
disastrous affair, and I obtained the following details. 

The escort had pitched its camp before sundown 
on an open hillside. An enclosure, or sort of rough 
zareba, had been constructed with a few strands of 
barbed wire, and the prisoners, with the exception 
of Jiand and his son, had been placed inside, and 
sentries set over them. Jiand and his son had been 
kept apart, in a small fugi, with a sentry in front 
of it. 

It was a very dark, quiet night, and the camp had 
soon settled down to sleep. 

Suddenly, strange stealthy sounds had been heard 
close to the zareba, and the sentries had fired wildly 
into the darkness. Instantly the whole camp had 
been roused, and the officers had rushed to the 
prisoners' quarters. 

Lamps were brought, and it was quickly found 
that the zareba was empty. What had happened 
seemed fairly obvious. The prisoners had evidently 
taken off all their clothes and flung the heavier 



FAILURE AND FRESH PLANS 175 

garments over the barbed wire. This done, and 
acting in consort, they had broken or borne it down 
by sheer weight. In any case the whole lot of them 
had escaped, absolutely naked, leaving their clothes 
behind on the barbed wire ! 

Of course an immediate search was instituted, but 
the Raiders had escaped into the rough, broken hills 
during the few minutes succeeding the alarm, and not 
a single one was re-taken. The only prisoners now 
left in our hands were Jiand and his son. 

After such a set-back a man may be pardoned for 
being at his wits' end. Not only did it spell failure 
to keep faith with the Indian Government in regard 
to the prisoners, but it became plain that the wireless 
troop, whose safe passage I had practically 
guaranteed, was now in peril ; for they would, almost 
certainly, be attacked, as they must by this time be 
right in the heart of the enemy territory, whose fight- 
ing men would now be elated beyond bounds at 
their successful coup. 

I quickly realised that we must act without an 
instant's delay. We must first rescue that wireless 
troop with its small escort at any cost. The best 
thing to be done at the moment was to order the 
prisoners' escort who now had no one to escort! 
except Jiand and his son to proceed instantly in the 
direction along which the wireless troop was coming, 
whilst Sanders and myself, with every man we could 
collect after leaving some sort of garrison for Khwash 
goodness knows we were few enough already! 



176 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

set out to join up with the escort, which would have 
to march due East that day. , 

I could then take some of the men forming that 
escort and go in the direction of Kamalabad with the 
object of holding off the Gamshadzais under Halil 
Khan ; I was convinced they would now, without 
question, put into execution the threat they had so 
repeatedly made of trying to rescue Jiand. As will 
be seen my objective was the Kamalabad valley, 
where I should at least have a better chance of hold- 
ing them up than elsewhere. 

The messenger was thereupon directed to return 
at once to the officer commanding the escort, with 
a letter directing the new move and telling him at 
what point I would intersect his march that evening. 

As soon as he had been dispatched a servant was 
sent to awaken Sanders, Idu and the Sarhad-dar, 
and summon them immediately to my tent. When 
they were told the bad news their dismay was fully 
equal to mine. The Sarhad-dar seemed to think the 
world had come to an end. The situation was in 
any case quite black enough, and it was a very 
depressed little party that an hour later set out from 
the camp. 

It was not until well on into the evening that the 
force composing the prisoners' escort joined us at 
the appointed rendezvous, but when it did I pro- 
ceeded to re-arrange the composition of units with- 
out delay. I took twenty-five cavalry, some fifty of 
the infantry, also the two machine guns, and ordered 



FAILURE AND FRESH PLANS 177 

the officer commanding, who was desperately down- 
cast at the disaster, to march at top speed with the 
force left him in the direction along which the wireless 
troop must now be coming. His further orders, on 
getting in touch, were to tell them what had 
happened, and, as I did not now consider it safe for 
them to come at present to Khwash, to go back with 
him to Saindak, where he was to hand over Jiand 
and his son to the Hazaras now waiting to receive 
them. 

He was further instructed to say that I was march- 
ing in another direction, towards Kamalabad, in an 
endeavour to hold up Halil Khan and the Gamshad- 
zais, who, according to rumours reaching us that 
evening, were on their way in great force to Gusht, 
at the end of the Kamalabad valley. 

My little force started then and there, marching a 
distance of about twelve miles through the night, 
and reached Kamalabad before daybreak. It must 
be remembered that campaigning under conditions 
obtaining in a district such as the Sarhad is utterly 
different from that of any other type of warfare. 

Amongst my own little force, and especially 
amongst the camp followers, were both friends and 
potential foes, traitors and spies. In addition to this 
the whole population of the country was its fighting 
force, nearly every man being armed and trained to 
fight. Rumour, and news carried by runners, take the 
place of the dispatches and newspapers of the West, 

the consequence being that one's movements are 

M 



178 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

conveyed from mouth to mouth immediately upon 
that movement taking place. This fact will in itself 
account for our being able to hear such constant and 
detailed news of both the enemy's movements and 
intentions and vice versa. 

No sooner had we reached Kamalabad than we 
learned that Halil Khan had just been there, but had 
taken to the Morpeish Hills as we approached. He 
had every intention of fighting, but wanted to do it 
on ground of his own choice. In any case he did 
not want to fight in the open, where our Maxim 
guns would undoubtedly have given us a great 
advantage. 

It was a great relief to hear this, for it meant 
that we had intercepted him, and now stood between 
him and the escort with Jiand. It meant in effect 
that he could not attack it without first meeting and 
defeating us. Jiand and his son at any rate and, 
after all, Jiand was the supreme Chief would now 
be safely handed over at Saindak. 

But my satisfaction on this point was very short 
lived. Soon after reaching Kamalabad another 
messenger, sent off post-haste by the officer in charge 
of the escort, arrived with the news that they had 
been attacked in force, and that Jiand and his son 
had been rescued ! 

I questioned the man closely as to what had 
happened, and discovered that Jiand and his son had 
been actually snatched from the very hands of their 
gaolers. The fight had been a long and hard one ; 



FAILURE AND FRESH PLANS 179 

many men on our side had been killed, both the 
British officers wounded, and many rifles and much 
ammunition captured. It seemed that the whole 
force might have been annihilated but for the oppor- 
tune arrival on the scene of the wireless troop with 
their escort. The Yarmahommedzais evidently 
thought this troop the advance guard of reinforce- 
ments and retired, taking Jiand and his son with 
them. 

I learned later that the rescue party consisted of 
nineteen of the very men who had escaped from the 
prisoners' escort two nights before. It appears that 
they had run all the way to Kamalabad naked, had 
clothed and re-armed themselves, and had gone back 
to rescue their Chief. 

One could not but admire such a magnificent feat 
of daring and endurance, even though it added 
enormously to the difficulties of our own position. 

The Gamshadzais, in all probability, already knew 
what had happened. They would also know that I 
had brought only a very small detachment to 
Kamalabad, that merely a beaten remnant of the 
escort, now without British officers, was left on the 
slopes of the Koh-i-taftan, and that there was a still 
smaller force in Khwash. 

It was obviously hopeless now to attempt to fight 
where we were. It was equally obvious that our 
best course would be to get back to Khwash with all 
speed. Khwash still remained a dominating factor, 
and was still in our hands. From that vantage point 



180 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

it might yet be possible to collect our scattered forces, 
and obtain reinforcements. 

Flushed with victory, and elated at his escape, 
Jiand would also remember the importance of 
Khwash, and would doubtless soon be on his way 
thither, if, indeed, he was not already marching 
upon it. 

So, once again, it was to be a race between us for 
the capital of the Sarhad. 

And, as on that former occasion of a few months 
ago, we won the race, but our return was a very 
different affair to that of our previous triumphant 
entry. 



CHAPTER XI 

SUCCESS IN MINIATURE 

The night attack The Hazaras arrive Jiand retires We march 
on the Sar-i-drokan valley Cavalry strategy " Gushti's " 
decision and opinion " The Hole of Judgment " Attack 
and retirement -A lost and regained water-supply The Sar- 
hadis as humorists The mud fort Halil Khan's arrival 
The fight at dawn Exit Halil Khan A prophet The 
Hazaras' request. 

IMMEDIATELY on re-entering Khwash Colonel 
Claridge was sent out, with all the men it was 
possible to spare, in an endeavour to find, and bring 
back, the strayed remnants of the prisoners' escort. 
In the meantime a camel messenger was dispatched 
to Saindak asking the O.C. of the Hazaras to 
march South to our help at once, and to take a route 
by which they might, with luck, join up with 
Colonel Claridge. A messenger was also dispatched 
to Colonel Dale, then commanding at Kacha, 
requesting him to send us all the supplies and 
ammunition he could spare, and personally to do his 
utmost to expedite the Hazaras, who were also in 
his immediate sphere of command. 

Hardly had Colonel Claridge and his small 
detachment left Khwash when Jiand, with a large 
force, took up his position among the low hills about 

181 



182 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

three miles to the North-East of the town, and Shah 
Sawar, who, as I might have expected, was now in 
full and open revolt, worried us from the hills to the 
South-West. 

But we were not going to admit yet that we were 
beaten. Daily we left the camp for the open as a 
challenge to Jiand to come out of his hills and fight, 
though it must be confessed that we hoped he would 
not accept it. 

At last, after a good deal of apparent indecision, 
the two Chiefs made up their minds to attack us, 
and by night. 

I must explain that in order, as far as possible, 
to deceive the enemy as to our numbers or rather 
lack of them the whole of our newly entrenched 
camp remained occupied by day; nor did we spare 
any device likely to give the impression of a larger 
garrison. But at night the men were withdrawn to 
a small, strongly fortified sector of the camp, so as 
to consolidate our strength. One of our Maxims 
had been placed in this sector, the other on the 
only tourelle left standing, and trained on the camp. 

As we were always expecting a night attack, we 
were thus well prepared for it when it came. Jiand 
made his at the North-East and Shah Sawar at the 
South-West angles of the camp : and when the 
presence of large numbers of the enemy became 
apparent round these areas, our men started to shoot 
wildly, but were quickly steadied, and ordered to 
hold fire. The whole of our depositions had been 



SUCCESS IN MINIATURE 183 

made with the object of allowing the enemy, if the 
attack came by night, actually to enter the camp, and 
so enable us to deal with them in denser formation. 

The outer defences were rushed, and from the 
temporary pause that occurred it was clear that the 
enemy was surprised at finding no defence. This 
was of course the vital moment at which to let them 
know we were alive. 

From my position in the defensive section of the 
camp I had had a telephone line laid to the tourelle. 
It was, therefore, possible to order the two Maxims 
to open simultaneous fire, and, at the same time, 
a heavy rifle fire right into the heart of those 
undefended sectors. 

The enemy recognised that a night surprise had 
failed, and were evidently not inclined to continue 
the fight under conditions so very unfavourable to 
themselves, so beat a hasty retreat. The night was 
very dark, and so the results of our fire were not 
observable. Rumour said that the enemy had 
suffered heavily in dead and wounded, but they must 
have removed their casualties as there was nothing 
to be seen in the morning. The results were all I 
desired, as we were not attacked again. 

Three or four days later we were much elated to 
learn that a junction had been effected between 
Colonel Claridge, the remnant of the prisoners' 
escort, and the three hundred men of the io6th 
Hazara Pioneers under Major Lang. The same 
information showed that they were marching 



184 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

together, as quickly as possible, on Khwash, and 
would probably be in that day. This was good 
news indeed. 

When they did arrive my spirits rose higher still. 
The Hazaras were a splendid body of men, all 
spoiling for a fight, and I promptly arranged that 
they should have it. It will be remembered that 
the Hazaras are Shiahs, hence their eagerness to 
blot out as many of the Sunni Sarhadis, per man, 
as they could manage. 

Directly Jiand became aware of their arrival he 
realised that it would be simply waste of time to 
remain in the neighbourhood of Khwash. He had 
now not the slightest hope of capturing it, so with- 
drew, with all his forces, to the Sar-i-drokan valley, 
which, it will be remembered, was his Summer haunt. 
This valley lies parallel with the Kamalabad valley, 
but on the farther side of the Morpeish Hills, and is 
bounded on its Northern side by the Sar-i-drokan 
Range. 

It seemed now that there might be a good chance 
of fighting Jiand with real hope of success, and with 
the elimination of bluff, upon which it would no 
longer be of any use to rely. 

Could we but defeat him in a square and open 
fight our past failures would be amply avenged, and 
British prestige again in the ascendant. 

So, with this object in view, messages were sent 
telling him to look to himself, for we were coming, 
not only to fight him, but to lift all his herds. Jiand 




i o 






.*_ , 



SUCCESS IN MINIATURE 185 

replied with the defiant message that he was quite 
ready for us, and that he knew how to defend his 
herds, as well as his men, from all comers. 

The Hazaras were given a couple of days* rest 
after their long, rapid march, and we then set out. 
The combined force now consisted of the three 
hundred Hazaras, a squadron of cavalry, two 
mountain and two machine guns and some Rekis. 
The remnant of our original force and two machine 
guns were left in Khwash, under the command of 
Colonel Claridge. 

The British officers with me were Major Sanders 
(Brigade Major), Major Lang, Captain Moore-Lane, 
Lieutenant Bream of the Hazaras, Lieutenant 
English with the guns, and Captain Brownlow in 
command of the cavalry. We started on a scorch- 
ing hot day, the 28th of July, with Jiand's herds in 
the valley of the Sar-i-drokan as objective. 

There were two ways of entering this valley, which 
is about seventy-five miles long, more or less closed 
at "either end by a bottle-neck formation of hills, 
and protected along the whole length of its sides, 
as already described, by the precipitous Morpeish 
and Sar-i-drokan Ranges. 

We fully realised that the entry to this valley 
would, in all probability, be a tough proposition, as 
the entrances could be easily defended, and would 
therefore be hard to force. The North-Western 
gorge, one of the two by which the valley could be 
entered, was called the Dast-Kird, and was very 



186 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

narrow. Jiand could, therefore, easily hold us in 
this direction. For, in an attack upon it, cavalry 
would only be an incumbrance, and, owing to the 
perpendicular sides of the gorge, and to the curious 
convexities of the hill-sides which obscured the view 
from below, the guns would fail in their proper 
sphere of usefulness. 

Yet it would be necessary to enter the valley by 
that gorge, or by the alternative one at the South- 
Eastern end, and close to a place called Gusht. 
But this second gorge was almost as difficult of 
access, if defended, as that of the Dast-Kird. 

It will be well to explain also that here, in the 
Sarhad, victory is attained more by the number of 
ramas herds of goats and sheep captured than 
by the number of men killed. It will be seen, there- 
fore, that if we were to claim, and to be accredited 
with, a victory over Jiand, it became essential to 
capture the whole, or the greater part, of his herds. 

This we well knew would be a difficult matter, but 
it would have to be done, despite Idu's doubts on 
the point. 

" If you try to go in by the Dast-Kird, Sahib, 
Jiand will send his herds out by Gusht. If, on 
the other hand, you try to enter by Gusht, it will 
probably be fatal. Not only will Jiand send his 
herds out by the Dast-Kird, but as Gusht stands 
on the border of Halil Khan's territory he also will 
doubtless take you on, whilst it will only be a 
comparatively short distance for Jiand to make his 



SUCCESS IN MINIATURE 187 

dash through the Dast-Kird and so down to Khwash. 
While he i$ attacking the few men you have left in 
Khwash, you will be left at Gusht with Halil Khan 
guarding the defile! " 

For once Idu had become a croaker, but we were 
not in the mood to listen to him. 

We camped out in the open, but under the lea of 
the Morpeish Hills, and from out of those hills we 
knew that hundreds of eyes were watching our every 
movement. 

At this stage I sent for Captain Brownlow and 
ordered him to march with the cavalry, while it was 
still light, for several miles in the direction of the 
Dast-Kird, at the same time making as big a display 
as he could; but, when night fell, to rejoin us as 
quickly and noiselessly as possible. 

This little piece of strategy will be plain to the 
reader. When the enemy saw our cavalry, appar- 
ently going in the direction of the Dast-Kird, he 
would conclude that we intended to attack at that 
point. Jiand would, therefore, concentrate in that 
direction to defend the pass, and to prepare the 
ground for battle on the morrow. We, meantime, 
would be marching with all speed in the opposite 
direction towards Gusht. 

Accordingly, Captain Brownlow, making a fine 
show with his cavalry, set out towards the Dast-Kird, 
and continued in that direction till night-fall. But 
he went one better than his instructions. He found 
and collected a quantity of dried-up scrub, and this 



188 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

he set fire to in patches, to give the impression that 
our whole force was camping there on its way to the 
Dast-Kird. This done he returned to camp under 
cover of darkness. 

Jiand fell into the trap. Warned by his scouts of 
what they imagined to be taking place he moved off 
with his force of something between one thousand 
and fifteen hundred fighting men, and actually 
marched all night towards the Dast-Kird. To 
safeguard his herds he sent them off in the 
opposite direction, towards Gusht. The position 
now amounted to this. Jiand's herds, on the farther 
side of the Morpeish Hills, and ourselves on the near 
side, were hurrying as fast as we could towards the 
Gusht defile, whilst Jiand and his men were hasten- 
ing in the opposite direction towards Dast-Kird. 
Thus it was that, by the time Jiand realised the trick 
that had been played upon him, we had gained a full 
two marches in the race for the defile. 

Gusht the town mentioned as being just outside 
the gorge of the same name belonged to a Raider 
Chief with a name so difficult to pronounce that I 
never achieved it, and so was forced to call him 
" Gushti." The name has stuck to him I believe 
ever since. This Raider was at the head of about 
two hundred fighting men, and claimed to be a 
complete free lance, and to owe allegiance neither to 
Jiand, Halil Khan, nor anyone else. Gusht boasted 
a mud fort of some size, and from this stronghold 
" Gushti " raided at will. 



SUCCESS IN MINIATURE 189 

I had been told that " Gushti " was prepared to 
join any force as a free lance if bent on an 
expedition which appealed to his taste. We were, 
in consequence, up against the fact that, if Jiand 
reached Gusht first, " Gushti " would undoubtedly 
be persuaded to join him. On the other hand, if we 
were first on the spot, it might be possible to bribe 
him into throwing in his lot with us. 

The distance between Kamalabad, where we had 
first camped, and Gusht is about sixty miles, and the 
distance between Kamalabad and Dast-Kird is 
approximately fifteen miles. It will be understood, 
then, that while Jiand was marching the fifteen miles 
between Kamalabad and Dast-Kird we were moving 
fifteen miles in the opposite direction. When, there- 
fore, he learned the truth as to the position, we were 
thirty miles ahead of him a useful start. On 
learning his error Jiand turned and came hot-foot in 
pursuit of us along the farther slopes of the hills. 
And such good progress did he make, despite the 
difficulties of the ground, that he came very near to 
overtaking us, though, fortunately, not quite. The 
prize offered for the race was a big one, the unop- 
posed passage of the Gusht defile, plus the active, or 
passive, assistance of " Gushti." 

On the third day's march we approached, and 
deployed our force to give it as big a frontage as 
possible. This was done to impress " Gushti." 
As usual, we had sent messengers on ahead. These 
invited " Gushti " to join us, and pointed out the 



190 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

uselessness of opposition as Jiand was hopelessly 
behind, and promised large rewards if he decided to 
join us of his own free will. 

When we arrived " Gushti " came out to meet us, 
all smiles and pleasantness, and assured me that he 
had not the slightest idea of opposing us, but that he 
would prefer not to fight against his old friend Halil 
Khan. He undoubtedly held him in wholesome 
dread. He also warned me that we were in for a 
big thing if we really meant fighting. Jiand might 
be behind, but not so very far, for, as usual, news of 
our proceedings had spread ahead of us. Jiand, he 
continued, with a very large force, was close on our 
heels, though on the other side of the range ; whilst 
the Gamshadzais, under Halil Khan, were gathered 
in large numbers on the Southern slopes of the 
Safed-koh about two marches away to the North 
of the Gusht defile and were ready to attack us at 
any moment. 

He admitted, however, that we had gained one 
great advantage, namely an unopposed passage 
through the defile. 

We spent a very short time in Gusht, which 
boasted a considerable number of mud huts, as well 
as the fort already mentioned. There were also 
several karezes, and a fair number of date palms 
dotted about, which gave a picturesque appearance 
to the place. In addition, there was a spring which 
" Gushti " insisted on our seeing, and which was 
supposed to possess extraordinary qualities. 



SUCCESS IN MINIATURE 191 

This spring gushes out of the top of a dome- 
shaped rock, and close beside it, also in the rock, 
is a hole called " The Hole of Judgment." If a man 
has been accused of wrongdoing, and is brought 
to this hole, a sure test of his innocence or guilt can 
be obtained. If, on thrusting his hand into the hole, 
he is able to draw it out again, he is innocent. If 
he cannot perform the feat he is guilty. This 
appears to be an unfailing method of obtaining 
absolution for their sins. 

We passed through the defile that evening, though 
we had already had a long march, for I did not want 
to risk losing the advantage we had gained. Once 
through the neck we debouched into comparatively 
open ground, and, after continuing our march for 
some three miles, halted and encamped by the side 
of a fine kareze. 

That same night Jiand arrived at a point only 
five miles distant. We had not, therefore, won the 
race with much to spare. Later information showed 
that he had travelled night and day, and was deeply 
depressed to find that, owing to his initial mistake, 
we had passed, unopposed, what should have been a 
formidable barrier. 

The next morning we advanced about three miles 
along the valley, subject to a certain amount of 
sniping which grew worse as we proceeded. We 
encamped in a strong position by a spring. We 
were fully aware that, at any moment, the Yarmahom- 
medzais in front of us might join hands with the 



192 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

Gamshadzais. Their combined forces would then 
number anything between two thousand to two 
thousand five hundred men. 

We now learned that a large number of the 
Gamshadzai herds had been sent to a place called 
Makn-tuk in the Safed-koh hills beyond the Saragan 
defile. I decided to attack in the direction of Makn- 
tuk. 

Accordingly, at about five o'clock on the following 
morning, we attacked the Gamshadzais' position by 
the Saragan defile, but at the outset the opposition 
proved far greater than we had anticipated, and, 
though this attack was pushed till eleven o'clock, the 
main body had then only advanced about half a mile. 

I then realised that it would be futile to hope to 
push on to Makn-tuk, and, much against my will, 
withdrew the scattered forces, some of which were 
already engaged far up on the hill-sides. With the 
help of covering fire from the Maxim and mountain 
guns, we withdrew with comparatively small loss to 
our last camping ground. 

The Hazaras were very disappointed at this order 
to retire, for they declared that, had they been 
allowed to advance, they would, most certainly, 
have succeeded in knocking out the opposition and 
winning through to Makn-tuk. But during our 
passage through that region at a later date these fire- 
eaters were better able to gauge the extraordinary 
difficulty of the terrain, and had to admit that it would 
have been impossible to fight a way through. 



SUCCESS IN MINIATURE 193 

In the meantime a body of the enemy had moved 
down from the hills, and had cut off our only avail- 
able water supply by capturing the picket-post guard- 
ing the spring before mentioned. 

This was serious and I immediately rode forward 
with an escort of about a dozen cavalrymen. But 
we had not proceeded far when, quite suddenly, a 
heavy fire was opened on us from the hills. Fortun- 
ately no one was hit, but it was a miraculous escape, 
for the ground around us was literally ploughed up 
with bullets. 

We dismounted, attacked and regained the picket- 
post. As Brownlow and I entered the sangar I 
noticed, on the ground at my feet, one of my own 
cigarette boxes, which had been taken by the Raiders 
when they captured my kit on its way from Nushki 
to Robat. 

The dozen Sawars were now left to defend the 
spring, at any cost, and Brownlow and I returned to 
the main body, meeting on the way the Sarhad-dar, 
with some of the Rekis, who were coming to our 
assistance. However, the danger was over for the 
moment. 

The Rekis solemnly assured me that I must be 
tir-band (immune from fire). They had watched the 
hail of bullets from the hills spattering around us, 
and could yet hardly believe we had none of us 
been hit. 

I had already found by experience that it was 
always wise to take advantage of little superstitious 

N 



194 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

suggestions of this sort, so solemnly replied that it 
was a well-known fact that I was tir-band ! 

We had now seen enough of the enemy's ways and 
methods to realise his inclination to waste a great 
deal of invaluable ammunition at long ranges. We, 
therefore, decided upon what seemed a wise course 
of action. Realising that to attack him in the hills 
would be too expensive we would remain down in 
the open, anyhow for a few days, draw his fire, and 
give him a good opportunity of eating up his limited 
food supply. We had food for a month, and knew 
that he had only sufficient to last four or five days. 

Accordingly we camped where we were for that 
night, and on the following morning moved a little 
farther back towards the Gusht gorge, taking up the 
position upon which we had camped when first enter- 
ing the valley. 

On that short rearward march we were fired at 
continuously, first at long range, and then, as the 
enemy grew bolder, at close quarters. We could 
distinctly hear them shouting as they came, crouch- 
ing low amongst the rocks and scrub of the hill-sides. 
They were humorists, too, these Sarhadis, for, 
between the shouts, we could catch a very passable 
imitation of the rat-a-tat-tat noise of our machine 
guns. They came, at last, near enough to shout at 
me, directly and personally, calling on me to sur- 
render; promising if I did so to spare my life, and 
also informing me that it was no good trying to fight 
any longer as I was practically surrounded, and my 



SUCCESS IN MINIATURE 195 

retreat cut off. They used the selfsame expressions 
I had so often used when summoning them to sur- 
render. This was turning the tables with a venge- 
ance! But we quickly saw that their boast as to 
having cut our retreat was not altogether an idle 
one. They had, at this stage, actually occupied a 
little mud fort crowning a small hillock. This 
hillock lay like an island in the bottom of the valley, 
and commanded the camping ground we were making 
for. 

The Raiders could be plainly seen shooting at us 
through the loop-holes, but, unfortunately for them, 
Lieutenant English promptly trained one of his 
mountain guns on the fort. The first round fired 
hit its mark, burst inside, and raised a huge cloud of 
dust. Its disconcerted occupants promptly bolted, 
and the way to our camping ground lay open. 

Here it was possible to place the whole force in 
comparative safety, partly owing to the cover aiforded 
by the hillock with the mud fort on its summit, and 
in a greater measure to the very convex slopes of 
the hills to the North, which gave us complete shelter 
from snipers' bullets. 

Our only vulnerable point was from behind. If 
the enemy collected in the low hills running out from 
the sides of the gorge it would be possible to rush 
us in the darkness. It was in that direction, accord- 
ingly, that we must look out for trouble. 

With the idea of guarding against this I asked 
" Gushti " to supply me with a couple of men who 



196 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

knew the country well, and were able to find their 
way amongst the hills by night. 

I then waited till it was quite dark before sending 
out two strong pickets, each consisting of fifty men, 
under the guidance of " Gushti's " men, to occupy 
two of the low hills which Sanders and I had care- 
fully noted whilst the daylight lasted. These com- 
manded the ground over which the attack would most 
likely come. We now fully realised that we were 
in a very tight corner, and that there was nothing to 
be done but to stay and fight it out. 

That night Halil Khan himself arrived with rein- 
forcements from Jalk, and went straight to Jiand 
and his Yarmahommedzais. 

He harangued them on their lack of enterprise in 
not having already defeated my force and made me 
a prisoner. He told the tribesmen that they vastly 
outnumbered my men and suggested that, if Jiand 
had lost his nerve, they had better serve, for the time 
being, under his leadership, when they would soon 
see how to capture the Sahib's forces. The out- 
come of this forceful personality's action was that 
Jiand, old and now very weary, consented to waive 
his leadership in Halil Khan's favour for the time 
being. 

So sure seems Halil Khan to have been of his 
ultimate and complete victory over us on the morrow 
that he actually sent a messenger off, that night, to 
the Khan of Bampur, telling him that the British 
General, who had caused so much trouble, was 



SUCCESS IN MINIATURE 197 

already a captive, and that hundreds of his men had 
been killed. He also wound up this premature 
message by inviting the Khan to come and share 
the loot. 

He then left Jiand's camp, taking with him Jiand's 
men, marched right round our position to our rear, 
and occupied a long, deep hollow between the two 
very low hills on which the pickets had been posted, 
but whose presence was absolutely unsuspected, as 
they had got there noiselessly in the darkness. 

From this hollow an easy advance on our camp 
could be made, and Halil Khan's intention had been, 
with the dawn, to rush us, and by sheer weight of 
numbers, overwhelm us. 

But just before dawn one of those insignificant 
accidents occurred upon which great things so often 
depend. 

As Halil Khan made ready for the attack, which 
I heard later was timed to take place during the next 
ten minutes, the rifle of one of his men went off by 
accident. 

I distinctly heard the shot, and have since been 
told that I rushed out of my tent shouting, " The 
Lord has delivered them into our hands ! " 

I am perfectly certain I never said any such thing, 
though I may have exclaimed, " We've got em ! " 

In an instant a roar of musketry broke out from 
the hills on both sides, for the shot had alarmed the 
pickets, and they were firing down into the hollow 
from whence the sound had come. 



198 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

Light was beginning to break, and it was then just 
sufficient to see by, dimly and uncertainly. In any 
case I knew I had got my chance. 

Instant orders were given that every man in camp 
should reinforce the pickets. 

It soon became apparent that Halil Khan, ignorant 
that the heights above him were occupied, had com- 
mitted a grave error. Daylight showed that his 
force were completely exposed to our fire, and that he 
could neither advance nor retire without running the 
gauntlet of it; for this grew hotter and hotter as 
reinforcements came up. 

Halil Khan and his men fought like tigers, but 
were in an impossible position. We had all the 
ammunition we required and an easy target. Our 
own casualties were astonishingly light, but we did 
not get off scot-free, and Halil Khan was personally 
responsible for many of our men. 

By eleven o'clock the fight was over, and those of 
the enemy remaining alive got clear as best they 
could. 

Before long news was brought that Halil Khan 
had been killed, and that his body was still lying in 
the hollow. Immediate orders were given for it to 
be brought in, as I feared the Shiah Hazaras might 
attempt to mutilate it. One of the Hazaras spread 
the news that he had seen me blow Halil Khan's 
head off. The Sarhad-dar overheard him, repeated 
what the Hazara had said, and asked me to go and 
look at the body, which had now been brought in. 



SUCCESS IN MINIATURE 199 

A number of us went and looked at the body, and 
found that a bullet had pierced his eye and had blown 
the back of his head off. 

One of the Rekis, who had been present at the 
last Durbar in Khwash, exclaimed, " Sahib, you are 
a Buzurg (a prophet). You said at the Durbar in 
Khwash that if ever Halil Khan fought against you 
again you would blow his head off. And behold, 
you have done it." 

Once again I felt it policy to acquiesce and to 
admit that I was a prophet. As a fact, I had not 
fired a single shot during the engagement. 

Soon after I had returned to my tent an irate, 
native officer of the Hazaras craved admission, which 
was accorded. Without preface he opened bluntly. 
" Sahib, will you give us Halil Khan's body? " 

I asked, " Why ? What do you mean to do with 
it? Do you want to mutilate it? " 

He replied, " Sahib, when we lost men the day 
before yesterday, and buried them before retiring, 
the Yarmahommedzais, who came down after our 
departure, dug up the bodies, mutilated them 
horribly and flung them to the jackals. Therefore, 
in justice, Halil Khan's body is ours." 

" Halil Khan was a brave man as well as a great 
leader," I replied. " You are going to give him a 
soldier's funeral. You surely have no wish to treat 
him in the same terrible way that your men were 
treated?" 

He urged his point of view with such heat that I 



200 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

at last grew angry and asked him by what right he 
demanded Halil Khan's body, and to answer me as 
to who had killed him. 

' You did, Sahib," he replied, eyeing me curiously. 

" Exactly," I said with decision. " Then to whom 
does the body belong to you or to me ? " 

This seemed rather to appeal to him, for he replied 
with greater calm : 

' To you, Sahib, I suppose." 

" I suppose so too, and I am going to do what I 
like with it. Go at once to Gusht, buy a new wind- 
ing sheet, and we will give Halil Khan a soldier's 
burial; one befitting his brave deeds and position. 
Bring in all the mullahs (priests) you can find in 
Gusht. Oh, and, by the way, you can pay for the 
winding sheet for wasting so much of my time in 
argument." 

So we accorded Halil Khan a really fine soldier's 
funeral. Nor was this without results, for we 
learned, later, that it had made a great and favourable 
impression throughout the Sarhad. 



CHAPTER XII 

VICTORY AND PEACE 

News of the herds Towards Dast-Kird Water ! Mutton for 
all Dast-Kird A stampede Back to Khwash On the 
track of the Gamshadzais Twice a prophet The Sharhad- 
dar's roost Before Jalk Rejected terms More strategy 
and a bloodless victory Remain only terms and sick leave. 

WE had certainly won a decisive victory from a 
military point of view, but, according to the unwritten 
code regulating victory in the Sarhad, we had yet to 
capture the Raiders' ramas or herds of goats and 
sheep. 

This omission still confronted us when one of 
Idu's special Reki scout declared he knew the 
exact whereabouts of Jiand's herds, and that he could 
lead us there in two marches. At the end of each 
of these he declared we should also find a good camp- 
ing ground, and a good water supply. As these men 
had never yet promised water and failed us, orders 
were given to strike camp and march out in the direc- 
tion of Dast-Kird, through the valley lying between 
the Morpeish and Sar-i-drokan Ranges. 

Although we made a very early start the heat soon 
became intense. There was not a particle of shade, 
and our route lay slightly uphill all the way, over 

rugged broken ground. Also, as we were confident 

201 



202 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

of finding water at the camping ground, the men 
had emptied their water bottles before mid-day, and 
were enduring agonies of thirst long before we 
reached our proposed camping place ; whilst the 
suffering of the animals was pitiful to see. But the 
prospect of a good drink at the end of the march kept 
up our spirits. 

At last, late in the afternoon, the Reki, who had 
constituted himself our guide, gave a cry and ran 
forward, telling us that we had reached the spot 
where we should find water. 

No sign of stream or spring showed itself, but I 
remembered that the Sarhadis have a way of finding 
water seemingly miraculous to the white man, and 
when the Reki proceeded to dig and scratch in the 
ground at the foot of a stunted tree we fully expected 
to see a little spring gush forth. The men, therefore, 
with lips swollen and tongues cleaving to the roofs 
of their mouths, crowded round, eager and impatient. 

But, for once, Nature and the Reki failed us. For 
though the latter dug and dug, with the sweat pour- 
ing down his face, the dry, arid ground showed not 
the faintest sign of moisture. 

At last he desisted and fell at my feet, saying 
despairingly, " Sahib, there is no water! I found 
water here once, in the cold season, and I thought it 
would always be here. The heat must have dried 
it all up." 

Our situation was pretty desperate. We had not 
a drop of water for man or beast, and now could not 




WATER ! ON THE MARCH TO THE SAR-T-DROKAN. 



VICTORY AND PEACE 203 

tell when we should get any. All through the latter 
part of that day's march we had succeeded in getting 
the men along solely by encouraging them with 
promises of water. " Just a mile farther on " and 
then, " perhaps another half-mile." Only those who 
have marched without water in torrid countries can 
have any conception of the depression that grips 
men when they do not know when, or where, water 
may next be found. 

I cursed the man for misleading us, and he shook 
with fear. " It is not my fault, Sahib. Water was 
here when last I Ccune to this place. But to-morrow, 
without fail, I will lead you to a fine stream of 
water." 

" To-morrow? " I echoed. " How are we to 
exist till to-morrow? Why should I believe you? 
You have deceived us to-day, why not again to- 
morrow? " 

The man swore on the Koran he could and would 
lead us to a place where we should find water. " If I 
do not succeed, Sahib, in finding water before eleven 
o'clock, then take my life." 

I replied grimly that if he failed again, his life 
would most certainly be forfeit that was to say if 
any of us then remained in a condition to shoot him. 

The whole force suffered horribly that night, and 
when we set out again it was still dark. The Reki 
went on ahead with the advance guard. I rather 
imagine he was anxious to put a safe distance 
between himself and my revolver, for I had, indeed, 



204 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

determined to have him shot if he deceived us a 
second time. No man could face a second day of 
that blinding heat and glare without water and keep 
his sanity. 

We had only been marching a few hours when a 
Sawar rode back from the advance guard to report 
that large herds of sheep and goats had been sighted 
a short distance ahead. 

Our spirits instantly rose. Where there were 
sheep there would, most probably, be water. Shout- 
ing to the men to encourage them we galloped 
forward and were soon pushing our way through 
masses of sheep to find ourselves on the banks of a 
stream of clear, cool water. 

The difficulty, of course, was now to restrain man 
and beast from over-drinking; for if ever nectar 
flowed on this earth it flowed that day in that parched, 
sun-baked Saragan Valley. 

Unfortunately, like the majority of streams in the 
Sarhad, and in Persia generally, it only flowed above 
ground for a short distance, to be soon lost again in 
the arid, sandy ground. So orders were given to 
halt at that spot till we were all rested, and had 
absorbed sufficient water to make up for the past 
thirty-six hours. 

The thirty-four herds of sheep and goats found 
here were claimed as spoils of war, and I determined 
to give the men a real, good feast for once. Here 
was any amount of mutton for the killing, and well- 
nigh as much goats' milk as water. 



VICTORY AND PEACE 205 

The hungry Hazaras sent in a request that 
they might each have a whole sheep a day. I 
naturally thought such a request fantastic, and, 
mot taking it literlally, sent back word that they 
might, for once, have as much meat as they 
wanted. 

But they took the permission literally, and actually 
did slaughter a sheep for each man. I discovered 
afterwards that their great idea had been to be able 
to boast, in the future, that, after their great victory 
over the Yarmahommedzais, led by the Gamshadzai 
Chief, Halil Khan, their rations had been " a sheep 
per man per day." 

After this feast the carcasses of the uneaten sheep, 
and of the half-cooked meat, lay about in an orgy of 
waste, and the sight of the camping-ground was, as 
may be imagined, a sickening one. Never again 
was such a ration-order given! 

Late in the afternoon, with the whole force in fine 
fettle, we continued our forward march, driving the 
herds with us, and, a little later, found a good camp- 
ing ground with a plentiful supply of water. For 
many hours that night, owing to the bleating of 
thousands of sheep, there was little rest for anyone. 
But as they were now our sheep and not the enemy's, 
the annoyance was cheerfully borne. 

Upon the following day water proved scarce, and 
a great deal of digging had to be done before even a 
trickle could be found. The unfortunate sheep and 
animals had, therefore, to go very short. The 



206 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

country was also from this point getting very difficult, 
and marching became a great labour in consequence. 
Part of our route lay through a narrow, rocky defile ; 
one of the worst to negotiate, from a military point of 
view, that I have ever encountered. Had a mere 
handful of the enemy clibsen to obstruct us it would 
have been utterly impossible to get through. 

Much picketing of the heights had to be done, and 
this called for a great effort on the part of the Hazara 
Pioneers. These duties were well carried out under 
the very able direction of Major Lang. 

Fortunately the Yarmahommedzais had had 
enough of it, and left us severely alone. In fact, the 
only signs we had of them were the blood tracks of 
their wounded, walking or carried. But even these 
were significant enough evidence of their losses 
during the fight. 

The next day brought us more open ground, 
though marching still remained arduous, as we were 
tackling an uphill route. But later it fell away again 
towards the Dast-Kird gorge, and, by the afternoon, 
we were able to pitch our camp in a wild, but very 
picturesque, little valley, close to Jiand's Summer 
haunt. This valley, as I have already explained, 
lies between the Morpeish and Sar-i-drokan heights, 
which at this point rise sheer from it on either side. 
There are also a good many trees in the neighbour- 
hood, and the ground round the bases of these had 
been flattened, and then plastered with mud, in order 
to form good flooring for jugis. 



VICTORY AND PEACE 207 

We spent the night here, and on the following day 
arrived at Dast-Kird, where we camped close to a 
small stream. Unfortunately this stream was so 
small, a mere trickle, that it would not suffice for the 
animals, who had had insufficient water for the last 
two or three days. 

These herds were some little distance behind, for, 
poor brutes, they were feeling the heat and lack of 
water terribly. We, therefore, proceeded to make 
some provision for them, before their arrival, by 
damming the stream, and trying to make a small 
reservoir. 

The first animals to arrive were the battery mules, 
who, when they smelt water, made a dash for it. 
But they had scarcely begun to drink than a mass of 
twelve thousand sheep and goats, also smelling water, 
broke from their would-be shepherds, and, in a solid 
phalanx, charged the mules, routed them, and took 
possession of the water-supply. The men pulled 
and tugged, and struck them with their rifles in their 
endeavour to stampede them and drink themselves. 
But those sheep knew the power of numbers and of 
combination. With their heads well down they 
slaked their thirst from a stream which, now that the 
dam had been trodden down, had again become a 
trickle, and they held that position, against all 
comers, for twenty minutes. Poor beasts, they 
paid for their orgy at the price of some two hundred 
lives that night. 

Upon the following day we started on our return 



208 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

march to Khwash, and, upon our entry there, were 
accorded a great reception, and the story of the fight 
had to be told again and again. 

It was during this march that we began to realise 
the extent of the Yarmahommedzai casualties in the 
recent fighting ; for, during the whole of it, from the 
scene of the fight right through to Khwash, a 
distance of about a hundred miles, not a single one 
of the enemy did we see, nor was a solitary shot fired 
at us. 

But I was still not quite satisfied with results. 
We had not yet closely engaged and beaten the 
Gamshadzais, nor had we put into operation that 
deciding factor, the capture of their herds. On the 
contrary, when we had attempted to pierce the 
Saragan defile, they had forced us to retire. 

I have never yet been able to understand why 
Halil Khan never brought his own force against us 
near Gusht, but only the Yarmahommedzais, after 
he had persuaded Jiand to let him lead the latter into 
battle. 

It can only be supposed that he thought he had a 
task easy enough to tackle with one lashkar, and that 
he would not, in consequence, endanger his own 
men's lives. The mystery is the deeper because he 
had previously been at great pains to collect all his 
scattered tribesmen, and had concentrated them in 
the Safed-koh. Yet these men, even when news 
reached them of our victory over Jiand's tribe and 
of the death of their leader, never made the smallest 



VICTORY AND PEACE 209 

attempt to attack us or to reverse the decision of 
arms. 

It will be understood, then, that while the 
Gamshadzais remained unbeaten and their herds 
intact, our claim to dominance in the Sarhad could 
not be claimed as anything but partial. If, there- 
fore, we were to hope for lasting peace in the future, 
they too must have a lesson. 

So, after a couple of days' rest at Khwash, we 
marched out with our faces once more turned towards 
Gusht, and with every hope of another victory. 
The composition of the force was much the same as 
that upon the previous occasion, but with the addition 
of a few Chagai Levies under Major Hutchinson 
(political officer). 

A couple of days/ marching across the burning 
plain found us camped at a place called Ab-i- 
kahugan, lying in a small valley closely surrounded 
by hills. The men were hot and weary, and, as 
water had been scarce on the march, they were only 
too thankful to fling themselves down and rest. 
There were a small water hole and a few stunted 
trees and shrubs under which a certain amount of 
shade could be obtained. 

For myself I dropped down under one of these 
bushes and slept well on into the afternoon. When 
at last I woke, still feeling very done up with the 
heat, I saw one or two flashes of lightning in the 
distance, and felt certain that it was going to rain. 

I immediately got up and gave orders for the 



210 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

whole camp to be moved on to higher ground, and 
selected a likely spot on one of the slopes of the 
low hills surrounding the valley. 

The heat was still very great, and the effort 
expended in striking and re-pitching camp was not 
inconsiderable. The present camping-place was 
also infinitely cooler and more comfortable. 

As an outcome of this order an officer reported 
that the men were grumbling at having to move 
when tired out with the heat and the heavy marching 
of the last few days. 

I explained (for I knew by my own state how tired 
and done the men must be) that I had a presenti- 
ment that it was going to rain and that, if it did, 
the dry valley-bed would soon be a running stream. 

The officer stared at me. " Rain? " he repeated, 
as though he had not heard me aright. " But it 
hardly ever rains in the Sarhad, and it has never 
been known to rain in August." 

" Nevertheless," I replied, " this valley-bottom is 
going to be turned upside down, and the sooner you 
get your men out of it and up on to high ground the 
better." 

The officer saluted and returned to his men, who 
sulkily proceeded to carry up their kit and tents 
and to form a new camp on the uncomfortable, 
sloping sides of the hill. 

As I strolled about, seeing that my orders were 
being carried out, I noticed that Major Hutchinson's 
tent had been left in the bed of the valley. I 






VICTORY AND PEACE 211 

walked up to it, found him dozing inside, and told 
him to have his tent moved on to higher ground as 
it was going to rain. 

He, however, demurred, saying that he was very 
tired. He added, " It never rains in the month 
of August in Baluchistan." 

I, however, remained firm, though the few light 
clouds flecking the sky a short while before had 
completely disappeared. 

Despite my stringent orders some of Major 
Hutchinson's Chagai Levies apparently passed 
unnoticed amongst the low scrub, and so remained 
down in the shady comfort of the valley. 

As the evening wore on I began to feel that 
perhaps I had been foolish in ignoring the dogmatic 
statements of the men well acquainted with weather 
conditions in the Sarhad, and was still chewing the 
cud of this reflection when, suddenly, I heard a 
roar in the distance. This came rapidly nearer, and 
very quickly resolved itself into the sound of rushing 
water. Almost before we realised it, a mighty spate 
swept into the valley, literally filling it. The water 
carried everything before it, and very soon small 
trees, shrubs and debris were being hurled along 
in a mighty rush. 

It was pretty evident that the rain foretold had 
indeed fallen, though actually, in another part of 
the hills, forming this spate, which would have caused 
us serious loss but for my lucky premonition. 

Torrents of rain accompanied the spate, and 



212 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

the kit of the few Chagai Levies who had 
neglected orders was carried away and never seen 
again. 

As for the Levies themselves, they came within 
an ace of losing their own lives, and only saved 
themselves by clambering into the branches of some 
stunted trees, and waiting there till rescued. Nor 
was the rescue-work done without considerable risk 
to the rescuers. 

The Sarhad-dar had, for some reason, been down 
in the valley-bed when the spate arrived, and had 
been nearly drawn under during the first few minutes. 
But he too, fortunately, managed to climb into a low 
tree, where for some time his position was perilous 
enough, for the swirling waters threatened every 
minute to snap or uproot the trunk, when he would 
have been carried away. 

It was pitch dark when the spate arrived. I had 
seized a hurricane lamp from my tent and was 
watching the amazing scene by its light, when I heard 
the Sarhad-dar's voice shouting for help. One of 
our resourceful Rekis instantly grasped the situation. 
He jumped on to one of the horses tethered close 
by, urged him into the flood, and soon had the 
Sarhad-dar safely beside me on the high ground. 
He was later on recommended for the Royal 
Humane Society's Medal. 

The next morning, as soon as I was awake, my 
tent was besieged by the Hazaras. They crowded 
round, asking me to come out. So slipping into my 



VICTORY AND PEACE 218 

kit I emerged with the intention of asking them what 
they wanted. 

But I had scarcely lifted the tent-flap when they 
all raised a shout, and then proceeded to tell me that 
I was a Buzurg (prophet), that they all owed their 
lives to me, and had come to thank me. 

I replied with proper solemnity. It was undeni- 
able, I said, that I was a prophet, for had they not 
recently had two concrete instances of my powers? 

Later on, Major Hutchinson, in thanking me for 
saving his life, asked : " How did you know it was 
going to rain ? " 

I laughingly replied, " Because I'm. a prophet, 
my son! Didn't you hear the Hazaras proclaim it 
just now? " 

As a matter of fact we had very great reason to 
be thankful for our escape. The loss of the whole 
of our camp equipment, and of hundreds of our 
animals, would have been inevitable had the camp 
remained on its original site. 

The day following this incident we marched 
through Gusht again, and camped on the site of our 
recent engagement. 

From here we resumed our march in the direction 
of Zaiti, a camping ground lying just beyond the 
Saragan defile. But though we started at five a.m., 
met with no opposition and reckoned the distance 
only about twelve miles, we were not through the 
defile before midnight. 

It must have been at about this hour that I called 



214 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

one of the native Hazara officers to my side, and 
remarked, " Your men were very disappointed the 
other day when we tried to force the pass, and the 
order was given to retire. You remember, they said 
they were convinced they could have got through, 
even with the heavy opposition we encountered. 
Do you think, now they've seen what it's really like, 
they are satisfied that the order was a necessary 
one?" 

" Sahib," he replied, " of course we all see now 
that we could have done nothing in such a place 
against a determined enemy. I have never been 
through such a place in my life, and I am used to 
rough and difficult country." 

As a matter of fact the defile was so narrow in 
places that a loaded camel could not get through it. 
Fortunately we had a quantity of gun cotton with us, 
so were able to blast the rocks here and there, and 
thus make the passage possible for them without 
unloading. 

In due course we arrived at the village of Sinukan, 
a place some eleven miles from Jalk. Jalk at the 
time was a Gamshadzai stronghold, where they held 
two forts of some strength. 

At Sinukan I received a message from the 
Gamshadzais saying that they wished to treat with 
me, and asking whether I would go into Jalk and state 
my terms. If these were acceptable, they said, they 
would instantly submit, but, if not/they undertook to 
withdraw their forces to a distance of five miles on 



i 




HAXARA PIONEERS WIDENING A PASSAGE FOR LOADED CAMELS. 



VICTORY AND PEACE 215 

the farther side of Jalk, provided we also withdrew 
five miles from the town on our side. This 
suggestion was made in order to give us both time 
to make our respective dispositions before fighting 
commenced. 

An answer was sent to say that I agreed to the 
conditions, and that my force would come at once 
into Jalk to meet the Chiefs and present my terms to 
them. 

I would say here that these terms were not drastic. 
They were only bare necessary safeguards for the 
lasting peace of the Sarhad. On their presentation, 
therefore, and for a time during the discussion, I 
hoped that counsels of wisdom would prevail, and 
that they would be accepted in toto. At the 
last minute, however, the hotheads over-ruled the 
moderates and they were formally rejected. 

On this rejection I warned them that, if they 
persisted in their refusal, it meant fighting, and 
their reply was that they fully recognised the 
gravity of their decision, but that they meant to 
abide by it. 

Accordingly, we retired not only five miles but 
the whole eleven miles back to Sinukan. My reason 
for this action was that I had already thought out 
a plan by which it might be possible to subdue these 
warlike tribesmen without the fighting I was naturally 
anxious to avoid. I certainly did not want to lose 
my own men, nor did I wish to make casualties of 
any more of the Sarhadis. My chief object had 



216 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

been, throughout, and, as has already been men- 
tioned in this narrative, to make friends with them in 
the long run. 

But no race, white or coloured, ever held in 
respect man or government showing weakness or 
indecision, and, as the foregoing pages prove, it was 
of little use attempting to make friends with these 
tribesmen without first inspiring them with a whole- 
some respect for British arms. 

As we approached Sinukan I directed my Brigade 
Major to form two separate camps as I wished to 
seize Jalk by surprise that night with a portion of 
my force. My idea was to leave my transport and 
other encumbrances under a sufficient guard at 
Sinukan and with the remainder to move off secretly 
to carry out my intentions. Great care was taken 
to keep my idea secret, and only a few officers knew 
my intention. So well was the secret kept that my 
personal servant, Allah-dad, brought me my tea next 
morning only to find my bed empty. 

At midnight, very quietly we roused the troops 
and marched off. Before dawn we arrived outside 
the town. It was only at the very last moment that 
the Gamshadzais, who had learned that I had gone 
straight back to Sinukan, and, in consequence, had 
not anticipated an attack that night, got wind of our 
approach. They were, therefore, taken completely 
by surprise, and utterly lost their heads. As we 
charged into the place with the cavalry they all took 
to their heels and rushed out on the other side, 



VICTORY AND PEACE 217 

leaving many arms behind them. Within a very 
few minutes the two forts were in our hands. 

My men soon rounded up the few Gamshadzais 
who had remained in the place, which seemed other- 
wise to be full of women and children. 

To my embarrassment three large ramas of 
weeping women and children were presently led up 
to where I was sitting under a tree on the bank of a 
stream. I was then informed that they were all 
mine. 

Some of them, in tears, asked me what I was going 
to do with them. 

I replied, " I don't know. But at any rate I am 
English and not a German. What would you like 
me to do with you ? " 

They seemed bewildered at first, and without 
understanding, but when I assured them that I was 
speaking seriously, and really wanted to know what 
they would like to do, they soon found their tongues 
and made known the fact that they would like to go 
to their own homes. 

" Is that all? " I replied. " Well then, go." 

Their faces which, at first, shone with joy soon fell 
again. " But, Sahib, we have nothing left. .You 
have captured all our possessions." 

" But I don't want them," I returned. " Take 
everything that is yours and go." 

Their thanks were then overwhelming, but I cut 
them short. " Wait a bit before you thank me so 
much. No Englishman ever makes war against 



218 THE RAIDERS OF THE SARHAD 

woman and children but there are your men. If I 
catch them, after all the trouble they've given me, I 
shall certainly kill them." 

" Kill them then, Sahib," they said scornfully. 
" They deserted us, and ran away, when you and 
your lashkar came in. It is all they deserve." 

As a matter of fact I learned, soon afterwards, that 
the Gamshadzais had not only run out of Jalk, but 
right out of the Sarhad, to take refuge in other 
districts. By thus evacuating their own country they 
acknowledged their final defeat. 

It is reasonable to suppose that this humiliating 
end to their opposition would never have occurred 
had Halil Khan been alive. He, at least, would 
have been game to the last. He would have died 
fighting at Jalk as he had indeed died at Gusht 
or he would have surrendered with dignity. Halil 
Khan was a fine man, and without his leadership the 
spirit of his men at first faltered and then failed. 

It seemed then that, by this last action with the 
Gamshadzais, the prestige of the British had been 
completely restored throughout the Sarhad. In the 
West, Juma Khan, leader of the Ismailzais, had 
faithfully kept his word to, and had demonstrated his 
friendship and loyalty for, the British cause, ever 
since he had pledged both at Kacha. In the centre 
of the district the Yarmahommedzais had been 
completely defeated in open action. In the East the 
Gamshadzais had abandoned their arms and had 
bolted from the country. 



VICTORY AND PEACE 219 

There was now nothing left to be done. 

We, therefore, returned, marching easily to 
Khwash, where, very shortly after our arrival, I 
received letters from both the Yarmahommedzais 
and Gamshadzais asking to be allowed to return to 
their respective homes in the Sarhad, and on any 
terms that might be imposed. 

I had had eight months of continual work in the 
hot weather of the Sarhad and was very near the 
end of my tether. As a fact I was, by that time, 
suffering badly in health in many ways, and our 
medical officer insisted upon an immediate return to 
India for a long rest. 

As the Sarhad was now completely ours, and as 
it only remained for the political officers to dictate 
terms to the tribes, I listened to the advice of that 
medical officer, applied for leave to return to Simla, 
and was, in due course, granted it. 

But, though the need for rest in a cooler climate 
was urgent, it was with real regret that I said good- 
bye to Khwash, the centre of so many hopes and 
fears, and the scene of such dramatic happenings. 



INDEX 



AB-I-KAHUGAN, 200 

Allah-dad (the author's 
servant), ig, 20, 23, 36, 
216 

Allan (the author's chauffeur) 
ig, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 
28, 32, 33, 36, 104, 105, 106, 
107, 108, IOQ, no, 113, 117, 
118, ng, 120, 121, 122, 
127 



BAGHDAD, 48 
Baluch Raiders, 21 
Bampur, 44, 83, 84 
Bampur, Khan of, 83, 84, 

196 

Birjand, 16, 38, 3g, 101 
Borgar, 31 

Bream, Lieutenant, 6, 185 
Brownlow, Captain, 5, 185, 

187, ig3 



CHAGAI LEVIES, 6, 33, 34, 39, 
41, 52, 60, 61, 73, 2og, 211, 
212 

Chitral, 38 

Claridgre, Colonel, 5, 51, 143, 
163, 181, 183, 185 



DALE, COLONEL, 181 
Dast-Kird, 185, 186, 187, 188, 

i8g, 201, 206, 207 
Dew, Colonel, 84 
Duff, General Sir Beauchamp, 

Duzd-ab Plain, g2, 95 



EASTWICK, MR, 48 
English, Captain, R.A., 6, 
185, 195 



GALAHAD (the author's horse) 
23, Si 



Galugan, 40, 82, 84, 85, 89, 

92, log 
Gamshadzais, 40, 47, 62, 73, 

76, 82, go, 165, 167, 176, 

177, 179, igo, ig2, 205, 208, 

2og, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219 
Grover, General, 20 
Gul-Bibi, 58, 135, 136, 137, 

138, 139, 140, 150, 151 
Gusht, 42, 177, 186, 187, 188, 

189, igo, ig4, 200, 208, 209, 

213, 218 
" Gushti," 188, i8g, 190, 195, 

196 
Gwarko, 86 



HALIL, 35 

Halil Khan, 40, 47, 49, 73, 76, 
77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 89, 
go, g4, g6, gg, 100, 137, 140, 
141, 147, 148, 161. 172, 176, 
177, 178, 186, 187, 188, igo, 
ig6, ig7, 198, igg, 200, 205, 
208, 218 

Hazara Pioneers, io6th, 
6, 171, 172, 177, 181, 183, 
184, 185, ig2, ig8, igg, 205, 

2O6, 212, 213, 214 

Hazara tribes, 17 
Herat, 17 

Hirst, Captain, 5, 52, 60 
Hutchinson, Major, 2og, 210, 
2ii, 213 



IBRAHIM, 41 

Idu, 6, 33, 34, 35, 36, 41, 48, 
49, 50, S3, 59, 65, 72, 73, 
78, 83, 85, 87, 88, gi, 92, 
93, 94, 95, 97, 99, 100, 103, 
104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 
no, 112, 114, 115, 116, 117, 
iig, 121, 123, 124, 125, 126, 
127, i2g, 133, 134, 135, 136, 
138, 150, 165, 166, 176, 187, 
201 



221 



222 



INDEX 



Ismailzais, 40. 47, 62, 64, 79, 

82, 8g, 218 
Izzat, 78, 114, H5 n6, 117, 

118, IIQ, 121, 123, 128, 131, 

166, 168, 169, 170 



JALK, 40, 42, 49, 55, 196, 214, 
215, 216, 218 

Jiand Khan, 40, 47, 49, 56, 
57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 
64, 65, 66, 67, 69, 70, 71, 
72, 73, 75, 76, 78, 79, 80, 
81, 82, 89, 90, 91, 94, 95, 
98, 99, 100, 102, 103, in, 
112, 113^, 116, 118, 122, 124, 
128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 
134, 135, 136, 137, MO, 142, 
146, 147, U8, 152, 153, 154, 
155, 157, 158, 159, 162, 172, 
173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 
179, 180, 181, 182, 184, 185, 
186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 
196, 197, 201, 206 

Jujak, 106 

Juma Khan, 40, 47, 62, 64. 
79, 82, 84, 89, 90, 91, 9Q. 
100, 101, 140, 161, 218 



KACHA, 47, 49, 52, 53, 86, 
87, 92, 95, 96, 97, 99, 104; 
106, 116, 126, 137, 143, 166, 
171, 181, 218 

Kamalabad, 63, 65, 66, 67, 71, 
89, 146, 147, 162, 163, 176, 
177, 178, 179, 184, 189 

Karsimabad, 147, 152, 153, 
154, 155, 156, 157, 161 

Kerman, 17 

Khan Bahadur. See the 
Sarhad-dar. 

Khwash, 39, 40, 42, 50, 52, 
55, 57, 58, 71, 72, 73, 74, 
76, 80, 82, 83, 84, 87, 89, 
97, 99, 100, 102, 103, 104, 
108, 112, 113, 114, 116, 118, 

119, 121, 122, 126, 127, 128, 

129, 132, 133, 135, 137, 140, 
142, 143, 144, 146, 152, 162, 
163, 167, 169, 171, 175, 177, 
179, 180, 181, 184, 185, 187, 
199, 208, 209, 219 

Khwashis, 74, 75, 124, 125, 
126, 127, 128, 130, 163, 164, 
166, 167 

Kirkpatrick, General, 15, 18, 
47 



Kitson, General Sir Gerald, 

19 

Koh-i-Bazman, 44, 83, 85 
Koh-i-Jiandsiah, 95 
Koh-i-Taftan, 44, 55, 57, 63, 

64, 74, 76, 89, 105, 154, 172, 

179 
Korasan, 16 



LADIS, 55, 56, 57, 1 19 

Landon, Major, 5, 37, 48, 50, 
52, 53, 54, 61, 64, 72, 76, 
83, 92, 93, 95, 102, 103, 104, 
105, 108, 113, 118, 128, 129, 

' 130, 131, 132, 133, 136, 137, 
138, 152 

Lang-, Major, 5, 183, 185, 
206 

Liffht Cavalry, 28th, 5, 50, 
5i, 52, M3 

Lut Desert, 16 



MACGOWAN, MAJOR, 52, 53 
Mahommed-Hassan, 72, 73, 

74, 80, 81, 135, 140 
Makn-tuk, 192 
Makran, 84 
Meshed, 42 
Middlesex, 9th, 19 
Mirjawa, 52, 53, 54, 106 
Mirza Khan, 82 
Moore-Lane, Captain, 185 
Morpeish Hills, 63, 65, 66, 

67, 141, 178, 184, 185, 187, 

188, 201, 206 
Mourlain, Captain, 5 
Murad, 147, 148, 152, 153, 155, 

156, 157, 161 
Mushkichah, 30 



NARMASHIR, 17, gi, 170 
Nasaratabad, 38, 39, 46, 50, 

51, 64, 143 

Nasaratabad-sippi, 64, 90 
Nur-Mahommed, 157, 158, 

161 
Nushki, 18, 20, 21, 22, 39, 51, 

71, 142, 193 



Oxus RIVER, 38 



PAMIRS, 38 
Persian Gulf, 84 



INDEX 



223 



Pindi, 1 8, 20 
Pioneers, i2th, 53, 54 
Punjab Infantry, iQth, 52 



QUETTA, 1 8, 20, 21, 39, 170 



REKIS, 41, 47, 56, 82, IOQ, 
112, 114, IIQ, 163, 165, 193, 
igg, 201, 202, 203, 212 

Robat, 20, 21, 22, 23, 28, 36, 
37, 38, 41, 47, 50, 5i, 64, 
71, 86, Q7, 104, 106, 142, 
171, IQ3 



SAFED-KOH, 40, igo, ig2, 208 

Saindak, 31, 32, 35, 36, 3g, 
52, 104, 106, 171, 172, 177, 
178, 181 

Sanders, Major, 5, 152, 154, 
156, 158, isg, i7S, 176, 185, 
ig6 

Sarag-an defile, ig2, 204, 208, 
213 

Sarhad, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 35, 
40, 43, 44, 52, ss. 77, 78, 
81, 82, g4, 101, 113, ng, 
135, 147, 161, 165, 177, 180, 
1 86, 200, 201, 204, 2og, 210, 
211, 215, 218, 2ig 

Sarhad-dar, 3g, 57, 58, 61, 
64, 72, 79, 83, g5, 97, 98, 
102, 132, 136, 138, 139, 156, 
160, 161, 162, 166, 168, 176, 
193, 212 



Sar-i-drokan, 65, 66, 184, 185, 

201, 206 

Scinde Horse, 35th, 5, 37 
Seistan, 35, 46, 64 
Shah Sawar, 58, sg, 60, 80, 

81, 82, 123, 124, 125, 126, 

127, 128, I2g, 131, 132, 135, 

137, 138, 139, MO, 148, 149, 

150, 151, 182 
Shiah Mahommedans, 17, 

184, ig8 

Sikhs, 36th, 5, 152 
Simla, 37, 47, 50, 2ig 
Sinukan, 214, 215, 216 
Sunni Mahommedans, 17, 41, 

184 



TAKHT-I-JlNIKAN, g2, 
Teheran, 48 



WEBB-WARE route, 32 



YADGAR, 26 

Yarmahommedzais, 40, 47, 
62, 66, 72, 74, 78, 82, go, 
113, 130, 148, 156, 160, 164, 
165, i6g, 172, i7g, igi, ig6, 
igg, 205, 206, 208, 218, 2ig 

Yates, Lieutenant, 53 



ZAITI, 213 



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